Levelling the playing field for Australian manufacturers and producers
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.