Senate Bill Asks for AWB Inquiry

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., has introduced a bill that would require the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate whether AWB's actions harmed U.S. wheat farmers.

A bill introduced this week by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., asks for an investigation into the actions of Australian wheat exporter AWB in regards to U.S. wheat farmers.

The Australian government found last week that AWB, a monopoly wheat exporter until losing its monopoly status this week, had paid over $200 million in kickbacks and bribes to Saddam Hussein's government. After the report indicting AWB, the USDA moved to bar AWB from participating in USDA export credit programs.

Coleman's bill would seek compensation for U.S. wheat farmers if the U.S. Trade Representative finds that they suffered economic damage due to AWB's actions.

In a prepared statement, Coleman said, "First and foremost, we need to analyze whether the deceitful practices of the AWB may have injured U.S. farmers. If we find that they have, we need to focus our efforts on making our farmers whole again."

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