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Anti-dumping reforms establish 'level playing field' for Aust firms

17 December, 2014

The federal government is strengthening Australia's anti-dumping system with a range of reforms to ensure Australian industry is in the strongest position to compete on a level playing field – whilst also complying with international trade rules.

The reforms will ensure Australian manufacturers and producers have access to the assistance and information they need about the anti-dumping system, Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane and Parliamentary Secretary Bob Baldwin said in a joint statement.

Free trade, fair trade

"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.

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

Cooperation from foreign firms

Baldwin said the new measures would place a significant onus on foreign exporters to cooperate in anti-dumping investigations, provide a range of new support services for Australian companies who access the system and streamline a number of processes.

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

Additional support services for local firms

Baldwin said: "The Government is implementing a range of new and expanded information and support services for Australian companies."

Baldwin said the services included 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.

Improvements to merits review of anti-dumping

Baldwin said: "Changes will also be introduced to improve the way the merits review of anti-dumping is undertaken by the Anti-Dumping 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.

Protection from "inappropriate" behaviour

Ai Group CE Innex Willox said the strengthening of Australia's anti-dump rules addressed concerns held by many local manufacturers the current regime did not go far enough to protect companies from "inappropriate" behaviour by foreign competitors.

"The comprehensive package of reforms … honours remaining pre-election commitments," Willox said.

"The decision to abolish less useful and underperforming features of the anti-dumping system, including through improving the merits review process, makes considerable sense.

"Overall, the new measures, if properly implemented, offer a higher degree of support to Australian companies concerned about illegal dumping into domestic markets."

All the Government's reforms are consistent with Australia's obligations under the World Trade Organization.

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