Peak industry group for Australian vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG has welcomed the announcement made yesterday by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob Baldwin regarding the dumping of canned tomato products from Italy.
An investigation was launched by the antidumping commission on 10 July last year in response to an application lodged by Australian fruit and vegetable processor SPC Ardmona, who alleged that Italian tomatoes were being exported to Australia from Italy at margins which constituted dumping.
SPC said that the influx in imported Italian tomatoes caused material injury to local producers and also resulted in reduced profitability and lower sales volume for the business.
The investigation has now recommended that a dumping notice be published to a number of Italian tomato products which were found to have been dumped into the Australian market and additionally, exporters of these types of products sent to Australia since 1 November 2013 may be forced to pay a dumping duty to the Australian Government.
“The Commission found that a range of Italian tomato products have been entering the Australian market at prices which are below the cost of production for these items, and the publication of this dumping notice acknowledges this and will hopefully help to prevent further injury to the Australian tomato and vegetable processing industry, which in the past three years has been beset by a spate of factory closures,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Hugh Gurney.
“AUSVEG is calling on the Federal Government to use the dumping duty collected from these Italian exporters employing questionable tactics to support Australian vegetable and tomato growers and processors who have been injured by this predatory pricing.”
According to AUSVEG, in 2012-13, Australia imported $52 million worth of prepared or preserved tomato products, $49 million of which came from Italy.
“With 93 per cent of tomatoes imported into Australia originating in Italy, this announcement will serve to discourage those exporters who refuse to play by the rules,” said Gurney.
“The last three years have been unfortunately punctuated by the closures of Australian tomato processing factories for Heinz and Rosella, so the local industry has already borne the brunt of dumped Italian product. It is hoped that this dumping notice will allow remaining processors in Australia, like Kagome and SPC Ardmona, to continue employing hundreds of workers and Australian vegetable growers.”