Government gets tough on cheap imports


The federal government has announced a range of measures to prevent cheap products being dumped on Australia's markets.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor and Trade Minister Craig Emerson announced 29 new measures, which they say will meet World Trade Organisation standards.

The so-called anti-dumping system seeks to stop products being imported at prices lower than the cost of production.

Under the new measures additional Customs duties can be applied on goods that affect the viability of Australian business producing similar goods.

"Australia's economy is strong but some industries are vulnerable to dumping," Mr O'Connor said.

"Australian manufacturers and primary producers, especially smaller businesses, are finding the expense and complexity of taking anti-dumping action can be prohibitive. Our changes will help."

Mr O’Connor said the government's new measures provide greater certainty for manufacturers and primary producers, as well as their workers, families and communities.

The new measures include a 45 per cent increase in Customs staff working on anti-dumping issues over the next 12 months to ensure cases are dealt with more efficiently and a 30-day time limit for ministerial decisions on anti-dumping cases.

A greater use of trade and industry experts will be used to investigate complaints and a more rigorous appeals process will be supported by more resources, while the practices and decisions of other countries will be regularly considered.

Industry representatives and the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) have welcomed the proposed anti-dumping measures.

The AWU and the Australian Industry Group say the measures will help level the playing field for local business competing with overseas companies.

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