Dumping and Anti-Dumping: Have Your Say

In the past week there has been a welcome rise of interest in the thorny issues of dumping and anti-dumping measures.

The Productivity Commission (PC) has released a research report examining recent changes to Australia’s anti-dumping regime and looking at the increased volume of anti-dumping applications and measures in the past couple of years.

The PC report followed closely on the heels of the announcement by the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science of an inquiry into the dumping of steel and aluminium products in the Australian market and whether existing arrangements were able to satisfactorily address the threats posed by dumping.

The Australian Industry Group will feed into the inquiry initiated by the Minister and we will draw heavily on our members’ experiences and views. The PC report, while admittedly fairly “high-level”, will also help inform our response.

Our starting point is that it makes sense for Australia to have arrangements in place to ensure the competitiveness of Australian industry and to maintain level playing fields for businesses throughout our industrial supply chains.

It is important to note that anti-dumping actions and countervailing measures are specifically sanctioned by the World Trade Organisation. The Anti-Dumping Agreement allows countries to take action against imports from countries allegedly exporting at dumped prices. Australia’s anti-dumping regime can serve a purpose similar to that served by the predatory pricing provisions of Australian competition law. Ai Group believes that Australia should have effective and fair anti-dumping arrangements.

Of course, we also recognise that across the business community there are clear tensions that arise in relation to low-priced imports and anti-dumping arrangements. Many downstream companies who can use imported intermediate goods compete in the domestic market against imports produced with low-price inputs available in the source countries. Similarly, for downstream businesses who are also exporters, access to low-price, imported inputs can make a material difference to their competitiveness in export markets.

As a result of these tensions it is critical that the design and operation of anti-dumping arrangements provide timely and effective remedies to producers unfairly affected by dumping as well as ensuring procedural fairness that allows the full range of perspectives to be brought to bear in the consideration of remedies in the face of low-priced imports.

Both the inquiry initiated by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and the PC research report present an opportunity for a timely and more thorough examination of these issues.

It is also an opportunity for Ai Group members, whether you operate in the metals sector; are users of metal products; or are otherwise affected by dumping and anti-dumping measures, to help inform our responses to the inquiry announced by the Minister and the PC research report.

Please contact peter.burn@aigroup.com.au for further information, or leave your comments below.

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Head of Influence and Policy at Ai Group, Peter is responsible for policy development on a wide range of issues relevant to Ai Group members and works closely with our National Workplace Relations Policy and Education and Training Policy teams. Previously Director – Policy at the Business Council of Australia, Peter also held academic positions in Economics Departments at the University of Queensland and the University of Newcastle after starting his professional career at the Commonwealth Treasury. He has extensive experience in taxation policy including in the Tax Policy Division of Treasury at the time of the Draft While Paper and the Reform of Australia’s Tax System; as a lecturer in Public Finance; as Secretary to the Business Coalition for Tax Reform between 1997 and 2002 during the time of the development and implementation of A New Tax System and the Ralph Review of Business Taxation. Peter was also a member of the Business Tax Working Group that advised Treasurer Swan on changes to business taxation and has led taxation policy development while at Ai Group.

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