AUSTRALIAN industry has welcomed the establishment of a new anti-dumping commission.Under the commission, trade inspectors would be based in Victoria in an attempt to quash the rise of cheap imports dumped on Australian markets.
The government will provide Customs with an extra $24.4 million a year and 55 new investigators for small and medium-sized firms to help combat global companies.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week committed the government to act upon key recommendations in the Brumby anti-dumping review and establish an anti-dumping commission.
She said the move would fight the uneven playing field for Australian manufacturers and boost protection against unfair competition from overseas.
"It's neither fair nor efficient for Australian manufacturers or their workers to be harmed economically by products dumped into Australia,'' she told News Limited.
The government said complaints against anti-dumping had tripled in the past two years.
Dumping involves goods being exported to Australia cheaper than their ordinary value, below the domestic value of the product in the country it has come from.
Australian-made products affected by dumping in recent years include steel, chemicals, aluminium goods, paper products and fresh produce.
Manufacturing provides a quarter of Australia's business research and development expenditure, a third of its traditional trade apprenticeship completions and almost 30 per cent of its exports.
Peak industry body AusVeg public spokesman William Churchill said the Australian vegetable industry, like those in the manufacturing sector, had borne the brunt of actions by foreign countries to "subvert the ideals of free trade''.
"Trade as a tool is helpful to everyone when we operate on a level playing field, but some foreign countries bend the rules, subsidising industries to stamp out competition,'' he said.
"It should be applauded that steps are now being taken to establish an outfit capable of pursuing those who are causing injury to Australian industry.''
Citrus Australia chief executive Judith Damiani also welcomed the announcement, saying it would help protect the industry against cheap imported orange juice.
"It will be very important in making it easier for small to medium businesses to make claims against anti-dumping,'' Ms Damiani said.
The Government will introduce legislation for the anti-dumping commission next year.
The Government will support manufacturing by strengthening the system for investigating dumping and applying remedies where dumping is injuring local producers.
The key reforms will:
- Establish a new Anti-Dumping Commission to investigate complaints;
- Boost funding to Customs by $24.4 million over four years so it can deal with cases speedily and fairly - this will almost double the number of investigators;
- Make the anti-dumping system easier for small and medium-sized businesses; and
- Introduce stricter remedies against overseas producers who deliberately circumvent Australias anti-dumping rules.