Hockey puts stamp on grain deal

Shane Wright and Andrew Probyn CanberraThe West Australian

Treasurer Joe Hockey says he will be making the decision on a $3.4 billion takeover of GrainCorp and not Tony Abbott.

_The West Australian _revealed yesterday senior Liberals believe the Prime Minister would press the Treasurer, who has sole legal responsibility for foreign takeover approvals, to either reject the move or make conditions so onerous it would be unviable.

The report prompted investor concerns across the globe that US-based Archer Daniels Midland's bid for the east coast bulk grain handler would be stymied. Its shares fell almost 6 per cent.

Mr Hockey has until December 17 to decide on the sale, which wheat growers in Queensland, NSW and Victoria oppose.

The issue has caused tension in the coalition. Nationals Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss is among many to urge the Liberal Treasurer to block the sale.

A spokesman for Mr Hockey said Mr Abbott could not veto the decision because it was solely a decision for the Treasurer.

A December 2 Senate committee hearing is expected to press GrainCorp and the competition watchdog over the proposal.

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