Lev­el­ling the play­ing field for Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers and pro­duc­ers

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

THE AUS­TRALIAN Gov­ern­ment is bol­ster­ing Aus­tralia’s an­tidump­ing sys­tem with a range of re­forms to en­sure Aus­tralian in­dus­try is in the strong­est po­si­tion to com­pete on a level play­ing field, while com­ply­ing with in­ter­na­tional trade rules.

In­dus­try Min­is­ter Ian Mac­far­lane and Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Bob Bald­win an­nounced the re­forms they claim will en­sure that Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ers and pro­duc­ers have ac­cess to the as­sis­tance and in­for­ma­tion they need about the an­tidump­ing sys­tem.

“Aus­tralia sup­ports free trade, but free trade should also be fair trade,” Mac­far­lane said. “The dump­ing of goods from over­seas is harm­ful to Aus­tralian busi­nesses and ac­tion can be taken to pre­vent this be­hav­iour un­der World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion rules. Where lo­cal com­pa­nies are be­ing in­jured by dump­ing prac­tices they are able to seek trade reme­dies,” he said.

The move has been given a tick of ap­proval by ma­jor in­dus­try body Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion (AFPA). “We wel­come the pro­posed changes to place a sig­nif­i­cant onus on for­eign ex­porters to co­op­er­ate in anti-dump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The im­po­si­tion of higher dump­ing du­ties and in­terim mea­sures as soon as pos­si­ble for those com­pa­nies that do not com­ply with the Anti-Dump­ing Com­mis­sion (ADC) is a par­tic­u­larly wel­come re­form,” said AFPA CEO Ross Hampton.

He said the Aus­tralian tim­ber and paper prod­ucts in­dus­try had long ad­vo­cated for the strength­en­ing of anti-dump­ing rules, given the sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts dump­ing could have on lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses and em­ploy­ment.

“For too long Aus­tralian tim­ber and paper pro­duc­ers have been frus­trated by the de­lay­ing and cir­cum­ven­tion tac­tics used by some for­eign ex­porters as part of anti-dump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­clud­ing the de­layed pro­vi­sion of trade data and re­quests for mul­ti­ple ex­ten­sions,” he said.

The In­dus­try Min­is­ter said the Gov­ern­ment’s re­form pack­age not only de­liv­ered on its elec­tion com­mit­ments but also in­tro­duced ad­di­tional mea­sures to strengthen the anti-dump­ing sys­tem and re­spond to in­dus­try concerns.

“The changes will en­sure that while Aus­tralia be­comes in­creas­ingly open to trade, Aus­tralian in­dus­try is not left vul­ner­a­ble to dump­ing by for­eign com­pa­nies.”

“One of the sig­nif­i­cant out­comes of th­ese re­forms is that over­seas ex­porters who choose not to co­op­er­ate with an­tidump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions will face higher dump­ing du­ties and have in­terim mea­sures im­posed as early as pos­si­ble,” Bald­win said.

“The Gov­ern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing a range of new and ex­panded in­for­ma­tion and sup­port ser­vices for Aus­tralian com­pa­nies.”

“Th­ese in­clude us­ing the AusIn­dus­try busi­ness hot­line to triage en­quiries, tripling the num­ber of In­ter­na­tional Trade Rem­edy Ad­vis­ers to bet­ter man­age the in­creas­ing work­load and es­tab­lish­ing an Anti-Dump­ing In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice to pro­vide con­sumer in­for­ma­tion and un­der­take eco­nomic anal­y­sis of trends and trad­ing be­hav­iours across mar­kets.

“Changes will also be in­tro­duced to im­prove the way the mer­its re­view of anti-dump­ing is un­der­taken by the An­tiDump­ing Re­view Panel. They in­clude rais­ing the le­gal thresh­old for ap­pli­ca­tions, in­tro­duc­ing a con­fer­ence mech­a­nism for all par­ties and in­tro­duc­ing a scaled fee for ap­pli­ca­tions.”

Th­ese re­forms will be com­ple­mented by a range of tech­ni­cal amend­ments to mod­ernise Aus­tralia’s anti-dump­ing laws. This in­cludes re­forms to ad­dress prac­tices where prod­ucts are slightly mod­i­fied to avoid the pay­ment of dump­ing du­ties.

FOOT­NOTE: Back in Septem­ber 2013, Aus­tralian Forests& Tim­ber News high­lighted the need for a level play­ing field con­cept in one of sev­eral ed­i­to­ri­als in the lead-up to the fed­eral elec­tions.

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