New tomato dumping investigation initiated
The Australian Anti-Dumping Commission has announced it has initiated a new investigation into the alleged dumping of prepared or preserved tomatoes into the Australian market, after a fresh application was lodged by Australian food manufacturer SPC Ardmona.
Australian Food News reported in April 2014 that the Anti-Dumping Commission had published a final report on an earlier investigation, finding that a number of Italian tomato products had been dumped into the Australian market. That investigation was also initiated after an application by SPC Ardmona. Australian Food News reported in November 2013 that the Anti-Dumping Commission’s initial findings had been welcomed by the industry, but that some commentators had suggested the findings had come too late.
The original investigation came after SPC Ardmona cut supply contracts with 60 fruit growers in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, when the Company cut its intake of stone fruit by half.
Australian Food News reported in April 2013 that SPC Ardmona said market share of imported private label canned fruit had grown to 58 per cent. At that time, Woolworths brand canned stone fruit was labelled as being of South African origin, where Coles brand stone fruit was labelled as coming from ‘local and imported ingredients’.
These issues have had an impact on the profits of SPC Ardmona’s parent company, Coca-Cola-Amatil (CCA), which has undertaken a strategic review, in part to create a ‘transformation plan’ for SPC Ardmona. Australian Food News reported in November 2014 that CCA had announced the results of its strategic review.
New tomato investigation
The Commissioner of the Anti-Dumping Commission Dale Seymour initiated the new investigation after SPC Ardmona, which manufactures prepared or preserved tomatoes in Australia, lodged an application alleging that prepared or preserved tomatoes had been exported to Australia by Feger di Gerardo Ferrailoi S.p.A. and La Doria S.p.A. at prices less than their normal value.
SPC Ardmona’s application to the Anti-Dumping Commission alleges that the dumping has caused material injury to the Australian industry through:
- reduced sales volumes;
- reduced market share;
- price undercutting;
- price depression;
- price suppression;
- reduced profits;
- reduced profitability; and
- reduced capacity utilisation.
The non-confidential version of the application, which contains the basis of the alleged dumping, is available on the public record.
The goods subject of the application are:
- Tomatoes (peeled or unpeeled) prepared or preserved otherwise than by vinegar or acetic acid, either whole or in pieces (including diced, chopped or crushed) with or without other ingredients (including vegetables, herbs or spices) in packs not exceeding 1.14 litres in volume (prepared or preserved tomatoes), exported from Italy by La Doria S.p.A. and Feger di Gerardo Ferraioli S.p.A.
The following tomato products do not form part of the application: pastes, purees, sauces, pasta sauces, juices and sundried tomatoes.
The application contains the following further information in relation to the goods the subject of the application:
- The common container sizes of the imported prepared or preserved tomatoes the subject of this application are 300grams to 850grams, but the application covers all container sizes up to and including 1.14L.
- The imported goods could be packaged in different containers such as cans, glass jars, pouches or Tetra packs.
- Products sold in multi-unit packs, for example 3x400gram cans, are to be considered as three single packs.
- The imported prepared or preserved tomatoes can be labelled with a generic, a
- house brand / private label for retailer or a proprietary label. The imported goods the subject of this application covers all imported prepared or preserved tomatoes regardless of how labelled.
The goods are currently classified to the tariff subheading 2002.10.00 (statistical code 60) of Schedule 3 to the Customs Tariff Act 1995. These goods are subject to 5 per cent Customs duty.
The period under investigation is 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014. The Anti-Dumping Commission (the Commission) will examine exports to Australia of the goods by Feger di Gerardo Ferraioli S.p.A. and La Doria S.p.A. during that period to determine whether dumping has occurred. The Commission will examine details of the Australian market from 1 January 2010 for injury analysis purposes.
Dumping duties may be payable
Where the Minister for Industry and Science (the Minister) is satisfied, as to goods of any kind, that:
- the amount of the export price of the goods that have already been exported to Australia is less than the normal value of those goods, and the amount of the export price of like goods that may be exported to Australia in the future may be less than the normal value of the goods; and
- because of that, material injury to an Australian industry producing like goods has been or is being caused or is threatened, or the establishment of an Australian industry producing like goods has been or may be materially hindered;
the Minister may, by public notice, declare that section 8 of the Dumping Duty Act apply in respect of the goods meaning that interim dumping duties are payable on the importation of those goods.
Where there are grounds for the Minister to publish a dumping duty notice in respect of the goods, the Anti-Dumping Commission will examine whether the trade in the dumped goods give rise to retrospective notices being published pursuant to section 269TN of the Act, and make recommendations to the Minister accordingly.
Statement of Essential Facts
A statement of essential facts will be placed on the public record by 9 May 2015, or by such later date as the Minister may allow in accordance with section 269ZHI of the Act.
The statement will set out the essential facts on which the Anti-Dumping Commission proposes to base a recommendation to the Minister in relation to the investigation. That statement will invite interested parties to respond to the issues raised within 20 days of the statement being placed on the public record.
Submissions received in response to the statement of essential facts within the relevant timeframes will be taken into account in completing the report and recommendation to the Minister.
Industry welcomes further dumping investigations into Italian tomatoes
The new investigation has been welcomed by the Australian fruit and vegetable industry.
Andrew White, spokesperson for Australian vegetable and potato growers representative body AUSVEG said the investigation was “welcome news for Australia’s vegetable and potato industries which have struggled to compete against cheap processed foreign produce”.
“As the nation’s agricultural sector continues to shift towards a focus on free markets and international trade, it has become particularly important that Australian vegetable and potato growers and local processors are able to compete on an equal footing with their international counterparts,” Mr White said.
“In previous investigations into canned tomatoes, 103 of 105 canned tomato exporters from Italy were found to be illegally dumping their goods on our shores and duties were imposed,” Mr White said. “It is positive news that the remaining two exporters are now being investigated,” he said.
“We are hopeful that this new investigation will further discourage foreign businesses that are exporting to Australia from dumping cheap produce here and hurting local growers and processors,” Mr White said.
The future of the Packaging Council of Australia (PCA) is currently up in the air.
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