Australian Minister for Trade Simon Crean and Minister for Agriculture Tony Burke have issued a joint statement expressing concern over the US government's move to reintroduce dairy export subsidies, calling it a "serious backward step". The announcement made by US Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vilsack comes following the same measures imposed by the European Union. "Australia protested strongly at the time of the EU decision. We said the that move would invite retaliatory action, and we urged the US not to follow suit," read the statement. "Now, both the EU and US are using export subsidies and setting a poor example for the rest of the world. This move flies in the face of the commitments made by G20 Leaders not to impose protectionist measures." Burke added that this was "another kick in the guts for our dairy farmers, following the recent EU decision", the global recession and lower milk prices. Crean said his department would seek a meeting between the US and other non-subsidising dairy exporters to minimise the impact of this protectionist measure.