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Aussie farmers positive about anti-dumping law changes

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The anti-dumping announcement of Thursday (23/6) is good news for Australian farmers, says the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), as it will ensure the system will become more efficient and transparent.

Chair of the NFF Trade Committee, David Crombie, says that Australian farmers depend on a rigorous anti-dumping system so they can continue to compete on a level playing field against foreign produce, while also remaining compliant with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“Agriculture is one industry that is particularly susceptible to dumping, where foreign products are exported to Australia at a price below cost price,” Mr Crombie said.

“The NFF believes it is very important that industries like agriculture, that have legitimate claims against dumped exports, have the opportunity to seek a remedy for this through Australia’s anti-dumping system, ensuring unfair trading practices can be challenged.

“Of course, this needs to occur within the WTO guidelines to ensure that the anti-dumping system isn’t simply used as a form of industry protection, so we are pleased with today’s announcement that the law changes are WTO-compliant,” Mr Crombie said.

Of particular interest to the NFF is the announcement that the Government has decided not to apply a prescriptive ‘bounded public interest test’, which was one of the recommendations made by the Productivity Committee in their review of the anti-dumping system last year.

“This means that the emphasis remains on whether goods were exported to Australia at a price below the normal value of the goods, thus making it harder for our farmers to complete, rather than on any perceived short-term consumer benefit,” Mr Crombie said.

“We also welcome the Government’s announcement that it will establish a working group to examine some of the provisions in the Customs Act for primary producers, as under the current system, producers of raw agricultural products such as fruit and vegetables are unable to initiate anti-dumping action, due to a requirement that produce be processed.

“With the Australian system currently placing the onus of proof on the applicant to establish reasonable grounds to warrant an anti-dumping action, we are pleased to hear that the Government will improve the resourcing of Customs to work on anti-dumping issues. Up until now, the time, cost and complexity in launching an anti-dumping action has often been a deterrent to the agricultural sector,” Mr Crombie said.

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