AFGC down in the dumps with anti-dumping laws

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is urging the Federal Government to review its anti-dumping laws, saying they are affecting the competitiveness, jobs and future viability of the food and grocery manufacturing sector.

The current laws permit foreign companies to ‘dump’ cheap imported products on Australian markets.

Dumping occurs when goods are exported to Australia at a price that is below the domestic price of the goods in the country of export.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the food and grocery sector were already facing pressures from the strong Australian dollar and increases in the cost of various aspects of manufacturing, including labour, energy and water.

“A complaint can take up to two years and cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars and by that time, any ‘dumped’ product has already been sold,” Carnell said in a statement.  “There must also be measures in place that do not rely on subjective consumer benefit tests.

“…Industry simply wants to achieve a level playing field to allow a competitive and innovative domestic industry which can compete fairly in a global market."

In a submission to the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into the Customs Amendment Bill on anti-dumping, the AFGC said: “Australian manufacturers should be able to compete equitably on global markets and anti-dumping measures should provide for transparent and equitable remedies but not allow or encourage vexatious or frivolous claims.”

Early last year, the Federal Government overturned a ruling to prevent the import of thousands of tonnes of discounted paper from China and Indonesia.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann wrote a letter, backed by the AFGC, to former prime minister Kevin Rudd, asking him to reverse the Federal Government’s decision to lift anti-dumping duties.

“The removal of anti-dumping duties undermines the sustainability of Australian industry and runs counter to the Government’s sustainability agenda,” Carnell said.

Image: AFGC’s Chief Executive Kate Carnell, Source: abc.net.au

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