Recent events have focused attention on Australia’s anti-dumping laws. Media sources have reported that Senator Nick Xenophon proposes introducing a Bill into Federal Parliament on 28 February to amend anti-dumping provisions within the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) (Customs Act).
A newly formed federal Opposition task force and a recently launched public anti-dumping campaign by the Australian Workers’ Union have also focused attention on the operation of Australia’s anti-dumping laws.
Australian anti-dumping laws, which broadly follow the World Trade Organization Anti-Dumping Agreement, aim to prevent the dumping of imports found to cause or threaten “material injury”. Although dumping is not specifically prohibited, competition from imports can be considered by the Commonwealth to be unfair in certain circumstances and remedial action can be taken.
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) investigates claims of dumping, and oversees anti-dumping measures, under the Customs Act. In general terms:
Although Customs has reported an 80 per cent increase in the number of anti-dumping and countervailing investigations within the last year, media reports point to a decrease in the overall number of anti-dumping cases managed by Customs from 1990s figures.
Customs dumping notices are available on Customs’ website.
The Productivity Commission recently reported on Australia’s anti-dumping system. The report, released in May 2010, recommended retaining the current system but making some changes. The Commonwealth Government is yet to formally respond to the report, but Customs indicated in its 2009/10 Annual Report that the Government is expected to do so as part of the 2011/12 Budget process. Customs are currently chairing an independent committee tasked with considering the Productivity Commission recommendations and are consulting with stakeholders.
It has been announced that the recently established coalition taskforce will consider:
Recent media reports indicate that Senator Xenophon proposes introducing changes to the Customs Act to ensure that greater consideration is given to the effects imports have on Australian businesses and jobs. The reports stated that this would be achieved by:
The detailed effects of possible legislative changes cannot be determined until the Government and/or Senator Xenophon announce their proposed amendments to the Customs Act. For now, it is only possible to compare Senator Xenophon’s reported amendments to those recommended by the Productivity Commission.
Importers, and businesses that are or may be affected by dumping, should:
This publication is only a general outline. It is not legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action based on its contents.
Who does this affect? Importers, businesses that compete with importers and consumers.