Time to cut cheap imports: unions


Unions have warned the Federal Government to clamp down on cheap illegal imports, which are harming Australia's manufacturing sector.

Union and business leaders have called for stricter laws to combat dumping of cheap goods in Australia by nations such as China, which may jeopardize Australia’s manufacturing future.

Dumping occurs when an overseas company exports its products to a country below the cost at which they sell at home, a practice that runs counter to World Trade Organisation rules.

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said the Government must limit the sale of dumped goods in Australia or risk a harder debate over its planned controversial carbon emissions tax.

''If we don't get this right, if we don't have an anti-dumping system that works, if we don't have a realistic and sensible approach to trade, it makes the carbon debate that much harder,'' says Mr Howes.

''We're not going to be able to transform our economy and transform our industries without proper industry planning, without proper approaches to the realities in terms of global trade.''

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is facing increasing criticism over the lack of detail in her proposed carbon tax, which was floated early this year.

Anti-dumping groups are also concerned the tax will disadvantage local manufacturers even more, because it will raise the price of goods.

Mr Howes was speaking at the Trade Hall Auditorium in Sydney after a discussion with other union groups, business leaders and Independent federal politicians Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter.

The AWU will submit an anti-dumping discussion paper Don't Dump on Australia to the Federal Government. The document will invite comment from Australian manufacturers and exporters.

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