Australia’s regulator tasked with preventing the dumping of steel and other products onto Australian markets will have an improved powers as the Federal Government moves to stop Australian manufacturers being subject to unfair levels of competition.

Introduced into the House of Representatives, the Customs Amendment (Anti-Dumping Measures) Bill 2017 expands the range of methods by which the Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) can determine appropriate export prices and ensure that effective measures to prevent dumping are in place.

‘Dumping’ occurs where exporters sell goods to Australia that is below the ‘normal value’ – typically the domestic price of the goods in the country of export.

Whilst dumping neither illegal nor prohibited under any trade agreements, the practice is largely considered to be an unfair trade practice, and Australian law enables the trade minister to level special duties against any exporter from a foreign country where the practice occurs.

The practice is particularly problematic for the steel industry.

Steel products are the subject of around three quarters of all complaints to the ADC – which since 2013 has initiated a total of 93 investigations and currently has 60 complaints before it which are either being investigated.

Stronger action in regard to anti-dumping as well as more robust measures to prevent non-compliant products are likely to form part of the recommendations in respect of a Senate Inquiry into the future of the steel industry, which is set to report in December.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy said the amendments would help to address potential behaviours by foreign exporters which operate against the intent of Australia’s anti-dumping system.

Foreign exporters that stop exporting dumped goods for a period of time or export only small volumes of goods can exploit the existing reviews of dumping measures, taking advantage of movements in market prices to resume or initiate injurious dumping.

He says the amendments will improve confidence in Australia’s anti-dumping system and thus support local manufacturers whilst complying with Australia’s international obligations.

“This legislation improves the process of conducting reviews of dumping measures to ensure Australian businesses are not being injured by the unfair dumping of products into our market,” Laundy said.