Readers will recall from our e-alert of
27 November 2012, we brought you news of the Report of the
Brumby Review into Australia's anti-dumping regime.
Our e-alert identified 3 main recommendations following that
Review in the Report including:
that a new anti-dumping authority, agency or commission be
established under legislation;
that the new agency be principally located in a major city,
close to a high concentration of Australian industry; and
that an immediate increase in resources be made available to
establish a new agency and ensure a timely resolution of underlying
By a media release also dated 27 November 2012 the Minister for
Home Affairs released the Report and committed the Government to
By way of media release dated 4 December 2012, the Prime
Minister (interestingly, not the Minister for Home Affairs) has, in
fact, provided a swift response to the Review and the Report.
In the media release (entitled "Anti-Dumping Reforms to
Support Australian Industry") the Prime Minister identified
that the Government will introduce the following key reforms:
establish a new Anti-Dumping Commission to investigate
boost funding to the Australian Customs & Border Protection
Service ("Customs") by $24.4 million
over 4 years so that it can deal with cases speedily and fairly
– this will almost double the number of investigators;
make the anti-dumping system easier for small and medium-sized
introduce stricter remedies against overseas producers who
deliberately circumvent Australia's anti-dumping rules.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Anti-Dumping
Commission will be primarily located in Melbourne although it will
draw upon the resources of officers of Customs currently working in
the Trade Remedies Division of Customs.
On their own, the various key reforms are welcome and certainly
reflect a number of recommendations and submissions we made to the
Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia's anti-dumping
and countervailing regime and to the Brumby Review. Further, the
comments by the Prime Minister in her media release correctly
identify anti-dumping measures to be essentially about ensuring
competition and stopping unfair trade practices by overseas
producers (rather than those actions being "illegal").
However, some of the other rhetoric in the media release which
talks of "support for Australian industry" taken together
with the rhetoric associated with the 3 anti-dumping bills which
passed through Parliament recently (also the subject of our e-alert
of 27 November 2012) may give the impression that the Federal
Government is taking a specific stand in favour of Australian
industry against overseas exporters to protect Australian
businesses and employment. All of which could be construed as being
protectionist in nature. Certainly, commentary in today's
national press suggests that certain experts in the field do hold
Putting to one side the rhetoric and the concerns as to how
these measures will be viewed here and overseas, the announcement
of the new Anti-Dumping Commission does raise some additional
intriguing questions. Namely, who would be appointed to head the
Anti-Dumping Commission, whether officers of the Trade Remedies
Division of Customs will be staying in Canberra or will be moving
to Melbourne to assist the Commission and where Customs will find
the additional number of investigators required?
As always, we will keep you informed of the many and varied
developments in this area. There has certainly been an increase in
anti-dumping and countervailing investigations of recent times and
all economic indicators suggest that large amounts of unfeasibly
cheap overseas production may be headed towards Australia as one
market which may be able to afford to pay for those goods thanks to
a strong Australian dollar. As a result, more focus will be placed
This will all create significant new pressures for importers,
exporters, freight forwarders, customs brokers and manufacturers.
We will continue to provide updates and would be delighted to
assist with specific issues for specific clients.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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