Australian farmers have welcomed the tough new anti-dumping measures introduced by the Gillard government earlier this week.
The measures are based on recommendations made in a report on anti-dumping by former Victorian Premier John Brumby, who concluded that dumping – which sees products imported at prices below their normal value – was “highly likely” to increase in Australia.
They include the establishment of a new Anti-Dumping Commission to investigate complaints, a AU$24.4m increase in funding for Customs investigations and tough new penalties for importers who violate Australia’s anti-dumping rules. Additional funding will also be given to the International Trade Remedies Adviser, which provides information and advice to small- and medium-sized businesses on anti-dumping issues.
A government statement on the new measures said: “It is neither economically efficient nor fair for competitive Australian businesses to be disadvantaged by products dumped into our market. We do not allow unfair trade practices by our own businesses, so we should not allow Australian jobs to be jeopardised by unfair trade practices from overseas producers.
“These reforms will ensure competition is on a level playing field, supporting jobs in manufacturing and other industries.”
Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) president Jock Laurie said agriculture was “particularly susceptible” to dumping, but the “cost and complexity” of launching anti-dumping action had previously acted as a deterrent to the sector.
“Australian farmers depend on a rigorous anti-dumping system so we can continue to compete on a level-playing field against foreign produce, while also remaining compliant with the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade rules,” he said.
“We believe it’s very important that industries with legitimate claims against dumped exports are able to seek a remedy through Australia’s anti-dumping system to ensure unfair trading practices can be challenged – an important role for the new Anti-Dumping Commission.”
The government said it will introduce legislation next year to establish the Anti-Dumping Commission, which will be based in Melbourne and report directly to the Australian Minister for Home Affairs