Australian food manufacturers welcome anti-dumping law reform announcements

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th November 2011

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said today that commitments by both of the major political parties to reforming anti-dumping laws in Australia will benefit Australia’s food manufacturers.

Dumping occurs when goods are imported into the domestic market at below production cost or through unlawful subsidies from other foreign governments. The AFGC said that smaller Australian food manufacturers are hit hard by these practices.

Yesterday, the Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott launched the Opposition Coalition’s new anti-dumping policy, which seeks to:

– Transfer anti-dumping responsibilities from Customs to the Department of Industry;
– Reverse the onus of proof in anti-dumping investigations;
– Commit more funding for anti-dumping investigations;
– Hire an additional 20 specialist anti-dumping investigators;
– Strengthen enforcement of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures.

On 22 June 2011, the Federal Government announced its own anti-dumping reforms with claims that these would ensure Australian manufacturers’ products remain competitive and are not undercut by imported, heavily-subsidised products.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said it was encouraging that both the Coalition and Federal Government were committed to allowing Australia’s food and grocery sector to compete equitably on global markets.

According to the AFGC’s State of the Industry 2011 report released last week, the trade deficit of Australia’s A$108 billion food manufacturing industry almost doubled over the past year, reflecting “intense economic pressures facing the sector”. The report also found that the industry’s international net trade deficit ballooned by 48.5 per cent from A$1.8 billion in 2009-10 to A$2.7 billion in 2010-11.

Ms Carnell said, “These reforms are an important first step and industry will watch the outcomes with interest. Australia’s food manufactures want to achieve a level playing field to allow a competitive and innovative domestic industry. Industry has worked closely with the Coalition and Federal Government to find the best ways to strengthen anti-dumping laws.”