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Australian wheat authorities happy as India clear consignment

Written by: Staff

Sydney, May 3 (UNI) Australian wheat authorities have expressed relief over the Indian clearance of the 50,000 ton wheat consignment to be unloaded in Chennai.

The unloading was stopped after tests of the pesticides content in the wheat shipment were found to be over the allowed limit.

Now the earlier tests have been declared 'incorrect' by the State Trading Corporation (STC) who are looking after the wheat import from Australia.

''In samples drawn from the Australian wheat cargo, pesticides have been found within permissible levels,'' an STC official said.

The 50,000-tonne consignment being unloaded at Chennai is a part of a 500,000-ton deal with Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and is the first foreign wheat India had bought in almost one decade.

The sensational Indian rejection had come as another setback to the beleaguered Australian monopoly wheat exporter AWB. The unexpected negative development had led to AWB shares getting another southward dive on Australian Stock Exchange.

AWB had sent its representatives to meet Indian officials in New Delhi.

An AWB spokesman had earlier denied damages would be sought over the test.

''This has happened before, it'll happen again.

There will be no consideration of action,'' he said.

The AWB spokesman was probably referring to a 'mysterious' rejection of the wheat shipment by the Pakistani authorities in 2004.

The share price of AWB, which is undergoing an Australian Senate inquiry for bribing Iraq's Saddam Hussein regime, has since stabilised.

The import by India, first such purchase from a foreign country in eight years, is also facing stiff resistance by the strong farming lobby in the South Asian country.


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