House debates

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Measures) Bill 2017; Second Reading

10:28 am

Photo of Craig LaundyCraig Laundy (Reid, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I am pleased to present the Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Measures) Bill 2017.

The government is committed to free and fair trade. Protectionist policies will not solve the problem of slow-growing economies throughout the world. More globalised trade provides very real benefits for Australian businesses and consumers, such as greater access to materials for manufacturing and decreased prices for goods, to name just two.

Australian businesses must be globally competitive and should not be shielded from genuine competition.

However, dumping and foreign government subsidisation of goods exported to Australia is not genuine competition and can distort markets and injure Australian manufacturers. Our anti-dumping system allows Australian manufacturing businesses to compete on a level playing field against imported goods, by imposing duties on those goods in proven cases of dumping or subsidisation. A robust and effective anti-dumping system is an essential part of the government's commitment to free and fair trade.

Since 2013, more than 93 new anti-dumping or subsidy investigations have been initiated by the Anti-Dumping Commission, and there are currently more than 75 final measures in place on dumped or subsidised goods exported to Australia.

Australia's anti-dumping system is composed of a number of interlinked processes, all of which need to operate effectively to ensure the system's ongoing effectiveness. The amendment that I am introducing today is designed to address an unintended consequence generated in one of these processes, known as 'a review of measures'.

After anti-dumping duties have been in place for 12 months, affected parties can apply for a review of measures. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the rate of duty is current. The new duty rate is calculated by, among other things, examining the price the foreign exporter sells the goods for in their home market and the price at which they export the goods to Australia.

Reviews allow the anti-dumping duties to keep in step with changes in an exporter's commercial behaviour. If the exporter continues to dump, the duty rate can stay the same or increase. If the exporter has stopped or reduced their rate of dumping, the duty rate can decrease.

Currently, there exists the possibility that foreign exporters subject to duties can subvert the review of measures process to undermine the remedial effects of Australia's anti-dumping system. Foreign exporters are able to deliberately limit exports of the dutiable goods for a period of time in order to obtain a more favourable rate of duty for future exports. This facilitates the opportunity for exporters to resume dumping and continue to injure Australian industry.

To address this behaviour, which is clearly against the intent of Australia's anti-dumping system, the government is introducing specific methods to determine export prices for foreign exporters in the review of measures.

When an exporter has made no exports during a review period, or has made a small number of exports that are not representative of commercial trade, the Anti-Dumping Commission will be able to use three specific methods to set an export price. This export price then informs the level of dumping duty that is applied to future exports.

This change will increase the Australian manufacturing industry's confidence in the strength of the anti-dumping system by removing the unintended consequence of the reviews of measures which could be exploited by foreign exporters. This will make sure that the system continues to operate as intended to provide relief from injurious dumping for Australian manufacturers.

Australia's anti-dumping system is held in high regard by many of our trading partners, and so the government has worked hard to ensure that this change complies with our international trade obligations and that it will not diminish the international perception of our system's integrity and transparency.

Australia's anti-dumping system is a complex space that necessitates both long-term vision as well as the ability to act rapidly when significant issues arise. The government continually monitors the efficiency and effectiveness of the system, and remains in close consultation with Australian industry stakeholders in evaluating the need for further reform.

The government is committed to ensuring that Australian industry can compete on a level playing field. This amendment will ensure that Australian industries continue to have access to a strong anti-dumping system that delivers efficient and effective remedies for Australian businesses injured by dumping and subsidisation, and, most importantly, protects Australian jobs.

I commend the bill to the chamber.

Debate adjourned.