Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



Australia in an Anti Dumping quandry

The article from "The Australian" magazine at the link below was penned by a senior Australian Trade Union official

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/chinas-free-trade-cheating-threatens-our-jobs/story-e6frg6zo-1226007170647

This reflects a push by some representing Australian producers and workers to adopt measures to stop "unfairly cheap" imports - whether by dumping action or other means. Some primary producers have even called for country specific action against Chinese food imports.

At the same time that the article was published, an independent member of our Senate (our Upper House of Federal Parliament) is introducing a Private Members Bill aimed at "augmenting" our anti dumping regime by allowing Unions to be "persons affected" (they are already but not explicitly) and extending "material injury" to include the effect of dumping on employment.

The competing issue here is that the Government here has yet to respond to a review into the Australian anti dumping and countervailing system by our Productivity Commission. That review included a series of recommendations. One of the major recommendation was to introduce a bounded "National Interest" test so that even if there is dumping causing material injury those importing the goods can avoid the imposition of additional duty if they can prove "National Interest" in allowing the dumping to continue which outweighs the damage - such as cheaper goods for consumers, the inability of locals to meet demand or the nature of the local industry. This is consistent with the approach in other countries (such as Vietnam where the Trade Minister must decide whether dumping is in the national interest).

There's some real tensions here but I am not sure that our Government will seriously contemplate more aggressive moves against "cheap" imports, whether by changes to the anti dumping regime or by other measures - especially when Australia is one of the main proponent of the WTO and is at the forefront of the moves to complete the Doha Round! It would hardly be consistent for Australia to move to a trade regime which is not wholeheartedly in accordance with WTO commitments.

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