National Association of Wheat Growers president Dale Schuler and U.S. Wheat Associates chairman Leonard Schock issued a statement Thursday in response to the Cole Inquiry report that found evidence of corruption on the part of AWB, the Australian monopoly wheat exporter.
The statement commends Commissioner Cole and the Australian government for carrying out the inquiry into AWB's abuse of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq. The statement also voices support for U.S. actions against AWB, including an investigation into whether the company abused U.S. programs at taxpayer expense.
"The industry is very pleased that the Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has taken the step to resume the process of debarring AWB (USA), Ltd. from participation in our government's export credit programs and that members of Congress have indicated a willingness to look into the impact of AWB's actions in the U.S," the statement reads.
The wheat industry leaders go on to reiterate their opposition to AWB's position as a state trading company, a system resulting in AWB's monopoly on Australian wheat exports, referring to the system as a barrier "to free and open world wheat trade."