House of Representatives

Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 1) 2012

Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 2) 2012

Second Reading Speech

Mr Clare (Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice and Minister for Defence Materiel)


I am pleased to present;

The Customs Amendment (Anti-dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 2) 2012.

Together with

The Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendments Bill (No. 1) 2012.

They represent the 3rd tranche of legislation that implements the Government's reforms to Australia's anti-dumping system announced in June last year.

These Bills are cognate and are being brought before the House together.

They contain reforms designed to provide better access to the antidumping system for Australian industry, and to ensure any applicable remedies are available as quickly as possible.

Substantive Measures

This 3rd tranche of legislation includes four substantive reforms to the Anti-Dumping regime.

1. All facts available provision

First, this Bill clarifies the CEO of Customs and Border Protection and the Minister's power to take 'all facts available' into account when:

Determining whether a countervailable subsidy has been received; or
In determining the amount of a countervailing subsidy;
When the parties being investigated by Customs fail to provide relevant information within a reasonable period or significantly impede the investigation, review or inquiry.

This reform ensures that our anti dumping system better reflects the World Trade Organization Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

2. Expanding CEO/Minister powers - Continuation Inquiries

Second, this Bill removes the need for a separate review of antidumping measures and continuation inquiries to be run in close proximity to each other.

This is achieved by enhancing the powers that the CEO and the Minister have to conduct a continuation inquiry to allow for similar results to those currently available in a review of measures.

Through this amendment, Customs and Border Protection will be able to recalculate the level of the duties of an anti-dumping measure during a continuation inquiry.

This reform will streamline the process, meaning quicker outcomes for all interested parties.

3. Removing Limitations - profit and normal value

Third, this Bill implements the recommendation of the International Trade Remedies Forum - to remove the current limitation to the inclusion of profit when calculating the 'normal value' of a good in its country of origin, in certain circumstances.

This amendment improves the effectiveness of the 'particular market situation' provisions in the Customs Act - by providing greater flexibility for Customs to more accurately determine the 'normal value' of goods.

These first three reforms are delivered through this Bill.

4. Additional forms of interim dumping duty

The fourth reform is delivered by the Customs Tariff (Anti- Dumping) Amendments Bill (No. 1) 2012 which amends the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Act 1975.

This allows for different forms of interim duty to be applied from those currently used.

The types of interim dumping duty which could be used will include an ad valorem duty, a fixed amount of duty, a combination duty, or a floor price mechanism.

The methods for working out these new forms of interim dumping duty will be outlined in regulations to be made in support of this amendment.

Release of the two working group reports

Today I am also releasing two reports from the International Trade Remedies Forum (the ITRF) that make important recommendations to improve the Anti-Dumping system.

The International Trade Remedies Forum is made up of 21 members representing manufacturers, producers and importers, as well as industry associations, trade unions and relevant Government agencies:

Dried Fruits Australia(on behalf of the National Farmers' Federation)
Kimberley Clark
Australian Industry Group
SPC Ardmona
Australian Steel Association
Australian Food and Grocery Council
Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU)
Australian Workers' Union (AWU)
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Attorney-General's Department
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Innovation, Industry and Science
Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries

The first report examines Australia's 'particular market situation' provisions. It was prepared by the Market Situation Working Group made up of representatives from:

the Australian Industry Group:
Australian Food and Grocery Council;
Australian Steel Association;
Australian Workers Union;
BlueScope Steel;
the CFMEU;
Dow Chemical Company;
the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association; and
Representatives from a number of Government agencies.

The report makes 16 recommendations. The Government will implement all of them.

One of the recommendations (3.4) is to remove the legislative limitations to determining profit when constructing the 'normal value' of a good.

This reform is made in this Bill.

Other recommendations include:

Changes to guidelines and Customs manual to clarify the evidentiary standards required to support an allegation of a particular market situation;
Updating the questionnaires for exporters and foreign governments;
Amending the Customs Manual to reflect its new practice of working with applicants to develop market situation questionnaires; and
Convening a separate working group to examine possible improvements to Australia's countervailing provisions.

The Government will implement these changes administratively - through changes to the relevant guidelines, manuals and other arrangements.

The second report was prepared by the Market Situation Working Group of the ITRF, made up of representatives from:

Australian Dried Fruits;
Australian Food and Grocery Council;
Australian Pork Ltd;
the National Farmers' Federation;
SPC Ardmona;
the CFMEU; and
Representatives from relevant Government agencies.

It made 11 recommendations - and the Government will also implement all of them.

These include:

Retaining the close processed agricultural goods provisions of the Customs Act;
Providing the Small and Medium Enterprise Support Officer (when appointed) with briefings, documentation and training they need to work with Australian primary producers;
Customs and Border Protection conducting more analysis on the calculation of the 'non-injurious price'.

In accepting the recommendations in these two reports, the Government is demonstrating its commitment to reforming Australia's anti-dumping system through reforms which improve access and reduce the time and complexity associated with making and investigating anti-dumping applications.

In doing this, we also reaffirm our commitment to ensuring Australia's anti-dumping system complies with our international trade obligations.

Together, the Bills in this tranche of reforms and the 22 recommendations from these reports will make a number of important reforms to our anti dumping system.

Foreshadowing Tranche Four Reforms

The fourth and final tranche of legislation to implement the antidumping reforms announced last year is planned to be introduced in the next Parliamentary sittings.

The fourth tranche will contain reforms in three broad areas:

It will amend the subsidies provisions of the Customs Act to ensure they better reflect the World Trade Organization Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

These changes will increase the clarity of these provisions by removing long-term interpretive issues that stakeholders have identified with these provisions.

Second, it will establish an anti-circumvention framework in Australia.

The framework will prevent parties involved in importing goods into Australia which are subject to anti-dumping measures illegitimately circumventing Australia's anti-dumping system to avoid duties.

Anti-circumvention schemes have already been implemented overseas in the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Brazil and, most recently, in India.

The development of an overarching framework to address circumvention practices will send a strong warning to foreign businesses which intentionally seek to avoid measures imposed through our anti-dumping system.

Third it will strengthen the provisions that deal will noncooperation.

I want to ensure Australia's anti-dumping system is effective in dealing with parties that do not cooperate with anti-dumping investigations. The next tranche of legislation will include further amendments to support the Minister's power to impose tougher dumping margins for parties that refuse to provide necessary information within a reasonable period.