Don’t dump on the govt for protecting Aussie industry
Like anyone else, Australians are keen to pick up a bargain.
Our grocery aisles are filled with premium brand products alongside their cheaper cousins. We like to get the best deal when we’re buying an appliance, building our homes or fuelling our cars.
And let’s face it, while we all like to buy Australian made, we mostly consider the origin of products after we’ve checked the price tag. Who can blame us? We’ve all got families to feed and bills to pay. And a dollar only goes so far.
Our families are what I’ve been thinking about when considering the recent changes we’ve made to strengthen Australia’s anti-dumping system.
Dumping happens when a company exports its product to Australia and sells it below the price it charges in its home market or below cost. Where that causes economic loss to an Australian business producing similar goods, additional import duties can be applied to help level the playing field.
Dumping can happen with any imported product, but the common victims of dumping are in the manufacturing and farming sectors. At the moment there are 24 anti-dumping measures in place in Australia covering products such as chemicals, plastics, food and base metals.
Under our system, local companies that believe dumping is causing damage to their business must present their case to Customs for ultimate determination by the Home Affairs Minister. If I find that dumping is happening and it’s damaging the local business, I can put remedies in place.
In recent years, Australian companies have complained that the system just isn’t working and that has meant extra stress, on top of the pressures the manufacturing and farming sectors are already facing.
They’ve complained that the process to apply for an anti-dumping order takes too long, is incredibly complicated, requires huge effort and at the end of the day it’s too expensive to attempt – especially for smaller businesses with limited resources. There are also concerns that the system doesn’t reach the best outcomes.
These complaints are not new – they were being made under the Howard Government. What is new is that this Labor Government has listened and done something to improve the situation.
Among them are:
- A 45 per cent increase in the number of Customs staff working on anti-dumping issues to ensure cases are dealt with more efficiently
- Greater use of trade and industry experts in investigating complaints
- A new support officer to support small and medium businesses and downstream manufacturers and producers to actively participate in anti-dumping investigations
- Improving access to imports and subsidies data, and clarifying the data requirements for making an application
- And my favourite - a 30 day time limit for Ministerial decisions on anti-dumping cases.
These changes are designed to improve timeliness, increase compliance, make accessing the system easier for smaller players and lead to better decisions being made.
Our improvements will give greater certainty to manufacturers and primary producers – and their workers, families and communities.
The changes have gone down well amongst industry. Companies that employ thousands of Australians have welcomed our suite of improvements, as have the respective unions.
And I think this package will strike the balance that we all want – a competitive marketplace and a strong local economy. And that means a good deal for everyone.
Read all about it
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