Last week the Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare officially launched the Anti-Dumping Commission ("Commission") and appointed its first Commissioner, Dale Seymour.
The Minister also announced the initiation of the Commission's first investigations into the alleged dumping of peaches from South Africa and of tomatoes from Italy.
Official launch of the Commission
As part of the Federal Government's "streamlining" program to reform Australia's anti-dumping regime, the new Commission has been established in Melbourne and was officially launched on 10 July 2013. The Commission is armed with $24.4 million over four years and six pieces of legislative reform to investigate and take action against allegations of dumping.
The Commission is also currently recruiting for 25 new positions to double the number of investigators to better equip the Commission to balance increased levels of "unfair" practices of exporters to Australia. The establishment of a Commission and allocation of greater resources were primary recommendations made by the Brumby review of the anti-dumping regime.
Appointment of the first Commissioner
The first person to oversee the Commission's operations, Dale Seymour, has held a range of private and public sector roles including former Director of Deloitte Access Economics, President of Wormser Energy (USA) and Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.
The appointment seems to have accounted for the recommendations made by the Brumby report to recruit and establish appropriate skills and experience due to the complexity and technical nature of the work it performs.
The Commission's first investigations
SPC Ardmona (SPC) has lodged two applications for the initiation of investigations against allegations of dumping by exporters of preserved peach products from South Africa (ADN 2013/54) and by exporters of preserved tomato products from Italy (ADN 2013/59).
Hunt and Hunt previously provided comments on ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph on 30 April 2013 regarding the impact of a growing international market of cheap imports of tinned fruit on SPC and Australia's fruit growing industry. The Australian government, seen generally as an international free-trader, is sending interesting messages to the rest of the world by considering safeguards.
Interestingly, the new Commission's initiation of the dumping investigations follows the Productivity Commission last month commencing an inquiry, at SPC's request, into whether the "unexpected and unforeseen" increases in imports call for a special tariff duty to safeguard local producers. Former senior trade negotiator, Paul Barratt will be heading the inquiry, demonstrating the importance of helping local producers in the fruit industry.
Unfortunately, the apple and pork industries were unable to secure similar responses to their requests for protection from the Federal Government.