Anti-Dumping Laws to be revamped

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Both the Federal Opposition and the AWU have been involved in campaigns to force changes to Australia’s anti-dumping framework. Separately the Government commissioned former Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, to lead a review into current anti-dumping measures in Australia. 

The Brumby Review into Anti-Dumping laws concluded in late November 2012. What has transpired since is that both Houses of Parliament have passed laws aimed at introducing changes to bolster Government protection of domestic trade against import competition.

Dumping is the predatory pricing activity whereby a foreign producer exports significant volume of a product at well below the price it would charge in its own domestic market. The higher export price then supplements the reduced prices received domestically.

The WTO does not presently deem the activity as illegal unless it causes injury to the domestic market of the target country. If this is found to be the case, the Government is able to apply various measures, including duties against the dumped goods or may accept a price undertaking from the importer.

Our Government will not act unless an Australian manufacturer or producer submits an application with Customs requesting that an investigation be conducted. These applications and the subsequent investigations can be expensive, time consuming and complex to complete. The review or appeal process in respect of any findings from an investigation is also cumbersome.

The recent review of anti-dumping measures in Australia found Australia to be an “attractive exporting destination” including for dumped or subsidised products, and that the practice is likely to increase in the future. While current anti-dumping measures are sufficient, it found the investigation and complaints process to be inadequate.

Two of the primary recommendations flowing from the Brumby Review included the need for establishing a separate agency to focus on protecting domestic industry from dumped foreign goods and an immediate increase in resources in the area.

The new laws set to come into effect within weeks will allow for the setup of a separate anti-dumping commission within Customs and will provide an extra $24m in the Customs budget over 4 years. The changes are aimed at streamlining and improving the responsiveness and transparency of the anti-dumping investigation and appeal process.

If you would like more information on the recent anti dumping reforms or on the complaints process, please contact us.

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