Brumby review calls for tougher anti-dumping laws

Australia is under-performing when it comes to preventing dumping from importers, according to the Brumby Anti-Dumping Review.

Dumping – when a foreign company sells goods at less than cost – has been encouraged by a weak global economy creating a surplus of unsold goods, as well as the high Australian dollar.

Current measures against dumping, carried out by the customs department, were unlikely to be an effective enough deterrent.

The review, examining the feasibility of setting up a Commonwealth Anti-Dumping Agency, was announced by home affairs minister Jason Clare on July 4. John Brumby is a former Victorian premier.

'The low profile and limited resources at a time of intense international competition has undermined public confidence in the system, especially from a manufacturer perspective,'' wrote Brumby in his review, released yesterday.

The Australian Workers Union welcomed tougher measures against imports.

"Free trade has to be conducted on a level playing field, but too often Australian manufacturers are finding that overseas competitors are not playing by the same rules,” said Paul Howes, the AWU’s national secretary.

"Tougher measures against illegal trade dumping is what real border protection is about.”

The Australian Industry Group also said that the current regime didn’t inspire confidence.

"The report deserves serious consideration from all sides of politics and we look forward to the Government's timely response to its recommendations," said the AIG’s CEO Innes Willox.

However, Gary Banks, the head of the Productivity Commission, said that measures against dumpers could be effectively protectionist, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that inefficient local companies would be shielded.

To read the final report of the Brumby Anti-Dumping Review, click here.