Manufacturing News

Rethink on anti-dumping risks weakening safeguards

Our anti-dumping regulations may need some fine tuning but major framework changes must be avoided.

AUSTRALIAN industry has a right under international trade rules to employ mechanisms to counter predatory pricing and to ensure that products are not landed in Australia below the market price in their own country simply to capture market advantage here.

On April 17 the Productivity Commission released an issues paper suggesting changes to Australia’s anti-dumping regime, and calling for submissions on the subject.

In the issues paper, the Commission defined dumping as when an overseas supplier exports a good to Australia at a price below its normal value in the supplier’s home market.

It went on to say that most other developed, and many developing, countries have anti-dumping regimes, and that: “Hence, the objectives and broad concepts underpinning Australia’s system have widespread endorsement”.

The Trade Remedies Task Force (TRTF), which consists of around 50 Australian manufacturers and associations, is concerned that the current global economic turmoil will increase the likelihood of products being dumped on the Australian market, already under pressure as a result of weaker demand.

In its submission to the Productivity Commission, the TRTF emphasised that it was crucial that Australian industry is able to continue to take action to counter the negative impact of illegal under-pricing through the retention of an effective anti-dumping system.

Any watering down of our anti-dumping system will only add to this pressure on Australian industry. This will lead to higher consumer prices, the loss of industrial capacity in Australia and increased job losses.

Specifically, the TRTF does not support any changes to Australian practices which would be inconsistent with the WTO’s Anti-dumping Agreement.

The TRTF supports the retention of the lesser duty rule and does not support the practice of zeroing. Zeroing is a controversial calculation used by the US during dumping investigations and is not condoned by the WTO.

The TRTF considers that for Australia to go beyond what the WTO Agreement provides would not only disturb the delicate balance expressed in the Agreement but would undermine the long term support that the Australian community has for the retention of the Agreement.

The TRTF welcomes consideration of how the system might become more effective and timely.

The TRTF has been critical of many aspects of the system during the Joint Study Inquiry where it considers that substantial and encouraging progress was achieved administratively, in terms of process and procedures, including: recognition of the needs of SMEs; new guidelines; improved dumping manual; and the creation of an electronic public file system.

The TRTF considers the additional costs, time delays and uncertainties of having a public interest test are not warranted.

In summary, the TRTF supports the retention of a unitary dumping system; Customs to retain its present role; and that the Minister should remain as the ultimate decision maker.

To see the TRTF submission go to www.aigroup.com.au/mediacentre.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Ai Group South Australia members into our organisation. On July 1 the Engineering Employers Association South Australia merged with Ai Group, and we look forward to the prospect of new opportunities for Ai Group members who operate businesses in South Australia and beyond.

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