Does Australia really need a new anti-dumping agency?

Parliament house flag post

Does Australia really need a new anti-dumping agency?

Posted 12/02/2013 by Leah Ferris

Last week, the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jason Clare, introduced the Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Commission) Bill 2013 into the House of Representatives. The purpose of this Bill is to establish a new anti-dumping agency, which will investigate foreign exporters who are allegedly dumping their goods in the Australian market. While the idea of a Commission dedicated to exposing those who are looking to cheat Australian manufacturers and undermine free trade sounds worthwhile, criticisms have been raised as to whether such an agency is necessary or whether the current arrangements will suffice.

The establishment of an anti-dumping commission was announced by the Prime Minister on 4 December 2012 and is one of the key reforms aimed at ‘further strengthening Australia’s anti-dumping system’. An extra $24.4 million over 4 years is also being given to Customs so it can significantly increase the number of its investigations into cases of dumping. These reforms came as a response to the recommendations made by former Victorian Premier John Brumby, as part of his enquiry into ‘the current arrangements for assessing and investigating anti-dumping matters; and to consider the feasibility of establishing a Commonwealth Anti-Dumping Agency’. Mr Brumby’s report was released on 27 November 2012, and he strongly recommended that the Government set up ‘a new International Trade Remedies Authority, Agency or Commission, to be established under legislation’.

This is not the only enquiry that has recently been conducted into Australia’s anti-dumping regime. In 2006, a Joint Study looked at whether Australia’s current administrative arrangements reflected best practice. In 2009, the Productivity Commission (the PC) was asked by the Government to conduct a full inquiry into Australia’s anti-dumping system. The Government responded to the PC’s recommendations in 2011, by announcing a range of reforms that were aimed at achieving:
  • better access to the anti-dumping system
  • improved timeliness
  • improved decision-making
  • greater consistency with other countries, and
  • stronger compliance.
These reforms were introduced through a number of tranches of legislation:
Upon releasing Mr Brumby’s report, the Minister cited a rise in the expected number of anti-dumping complaints due to the current economic climate as justification for the need to establish a new anti-dumping authority. Pressure from industry groups, Independents such as Senator Xenophon and the Opposition also appears to have contributed to the Government’s desire to be seen as being tough on dumping. The former Chair of the PC, Gary Banks, has been critical of this approach and has argued to limit the provisions that allow for anti-dumping actions. Mr Banks went on to say that whilst it is uncertain how the Government’s new anti-dumping policies will play out in practice, no such certainty exists with the Coalition’s policy which ‘pushes the boundaries of allowable restrictions’ and ‘falls short of the balance required’. This sentiment is consistent with the latest UN-OECD report on G-20 Trade and Investment Measures which warned that the increased use of trade restrictions and inward-looking policy ‘will only aggravate global problems and risk generating tit-for-tat reactions’. Given Australia’s reliance on exports and the need for more open markets for Australian goods this rise in global restrictive trade regimes may impact Australia’s future prosperity.

While the announcement of a dedicated anti-dumping commission has been met with support from industry groups, such as the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Steel Industry, some concerns have been raised as to whether it may be seen as being protectionist. The Australian Financial Review has stated that the Commission will be ‘a protectionist initiative that will reduce the pressure on industry to become more innovative and productive’. The Coalition maintains that Government has not gone far enough in protecting Australian industry.
In order to judge the effect the new anti-dumping will have on Australia’s anti-dumping regime, it is important to look at it in conjunction with the other proposed reforms. The Minister has highlighted in his second reading speech that further amendments will be introduced in the next sittings. While it would seem that transferring the role of the CEO of Customs with respect to anti-dumping over to the Commissioner is not a big change in itself, with Customs staff to continue to be the ones effectively carrying out the anti-dumping investigations, such an organisational change may have a positive impact in the way such investigations are conducted, especially for small business. It remains unclear whether there will be any changes to the investigations process or how the Commission will operate with respect to the current appeal structure. It remains unclear what, if any, substantive impact the Commission will have on reducing unfair trade practices and it may just act as a symbolic gesture of the Government’s stance on discouraging anti-dumping.

Co-authored by Eugenia Karanikolas with assistance from Juli Tomaras. 

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment taxation Sport illicit drugs Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force welfare policy Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States higher education people trafficking school education aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA United Nations federal budget health financing emissions trading gambling Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme forced labour Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Fair Work Act child protection people smuggling debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure ALP New Zealand Australian Crime Commission Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament slavery by-election political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Afghanistan Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs poker machines doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing paid parental leave European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing election timetable citizenship Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel violence against women domestic violence disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation family assistance expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens money laundering servitude Special Rapporteur Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days baby bonus DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions

Show all
Show less
Back to top