The Federal Government’s decision to further delay implementing a strong, transparent and credible anti-dumping regime for Australia is “bewildering” given the growing economic and competitive pressures facing Australian industry, says Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout.
“The need for a strong anti-dumping system has become a critical issue for Australian business," Ms Ridout says.
"Australian industry has seen a clear rise in alleged dumping from overseas competitors since the onset of the global financial crisis.
“Now is not the time to be considering weakening an anti-dumping regime which should instead be a key component of Australia’s response to the challenges posed by stronger import competition encouraged by the high Australian dollar.
“Australian industry needs to have a stable, informed and quick anti-dumping investigation process to rely on to legitimately challenge the dumping of product into the local market. The current system is not fundamentally broken but requires some strengthening to improve the effectiveness, timeliness and quality of investigations undertaken by Customs.”
Ms Ridout says the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, has worked hard to respond to the concerns of industry about the need to have a reliable anti-dumping regime.
“However, the continued delay in responding to the Productivity Commission’s 2009 report will only exacerbate concerns within industry about the Government’s commitment to a realistic and workable anti-dumping system, Ms Ridout says.
"Australian companies do not recklessly launch anti-dumping actions. They cannot afford to, given that actions invariably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and the years it often takes for the process to be concluded.
“But Australian companies who compete against legitimate global competition also need to have the redress of a strong anti-dumping system to prevent their market share and growth opportunities from being eroded by unfairly priced competition.”
Ms Ridout says the AiGroup broadly supports proposals put forward by the Independent Senator Nick Xenophon currently under consideration by a Senate committee inquiry.
This includes giving clear consideration to the impact on jobs and capital investment while determining material injury to an affected company and turning the onus of proof onto an importer during an investigation to show they are not dumping goods into the Australian market.
"Australian industry hopes the Government will be able to move quickly and overcome the resistance of several departments to implementing a coherent and workable anti-dumping system, Ms Ridout says.
“As Ai Group has continually stated since its initial submission to the Productivity Commission’s review, a rigorous anti-dumping system in Australia is an important and legitimate component of an open economy, especially in these tough and challenging economic times.”