A Coalition Government will act to improve Australia's anti-dumping regime.
A taskforce headed by Shadow Industry Minister, Sophie Mirabella will examine the problems with the current regime that allow foreign companies to 'dump' cheap products on Australian markets.
This honours a Coalition election commitment to ensure that Australian manufacturers' products are not undercut by imported, subsidised products or by products that do not comply with appropriate quality standards.
The establishment of the taskforce acknowledges the widespread call from industry groups - including the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association, National Farmers Federation, the Trade Remedies Task Force and the Cement Industry Federation - for improved access to the current anti-dumping system.
Many businesses have raised concerns that the present system:
• is too cumbersome;
• places the onus of proof on domestic businesses rather than on their competitors;
• applies retrospectively (often after irreversible damage has already been done); and
• is generally prohibitively expensive to access.
The questions the taskforce will consider include: whether anti-dumping action should be available in response to imports that only threaten to cause material injury to an industry; whether the 155 day period that Customs have to investigate should be reduced; and whether the Minister should be expected to take action of some kind where dumping has been found to exist.
Australia's anti-dumping regime should not protect inefficient and uncompetitive businesses. Competition is good for consumers and drives business innovation.
However, foreign goods sold cheaply into Australia on the back of government subsidies, unfairly distort the market place, harming Australian businesses and ultimately costing jobs.
The Coalition's anti-dumping taskforce is an important part of our ongoing policy engagement with industry and the community. It will also allow us, on coming to government, to make the changes necessary to ensure Australia's anti-dumping arrangements are far more workable, accessible and effective.
The taskforce's consideration of the current anti-dumping regime will not affect the Coalition's commitment to Australia's existing multilateral trade obligations and bilateral trade agreements.