Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice and Minister for Defence Materiel) (09:17): I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I am pleased to present:
the Customs Amendment (Anti-dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 2) 2012 together with
the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendments Bill (No. 1) 2012.
They represent the third tranche of legislation that implements the government’s reforms to Australia’s antidumping system announced in June last year.
These bills are introduced into the House together.
They contain reforms designed to provide better access to the antidumping system for Australian industry, and to ensure any applicable remedies are available as quickly as possible.
Substantive m easures
This third tranche of legislation includes four substantive reforms to the antidumping regime.
1. All facts available provision
First, this bill clarifies the CEO of customs and border protection and the minister’s power to take ‘all facts available’ into account when:
determining whether a countervailable subsidy has been received; or
in determining the amount of a countervailing subsidy;
when the parties being investigated by Customs fail to provide relevant information within a reasonable period or significantly impede the investigation, review or inquiry.
This reform ensures that our antidumping system better reflects the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
2. Expanding CEO/Minister powers—Continuation Inquiries
Second, this bill removes the need for a separate review of antidumping measures and continuation inquiries to be run in close proximity to each other.
This is achieved by enhancing the powers that the CEO and the minister have to conduct a continuation inquiry to allow for similar results to those currently available in a review of measures.
Through this amendment, customs and border protection will be able to recalculate the level of the duties of an antidumping measure during a continuation inquiry.
This reform will streamline the process, meaning quicker outcomes for all interested parties.
3. Removing Limitations—profit and normal value
Third, this bill implements the recommendation of the International Trade Remedies Forum—to remove the current limitation to the inclusion of profit when calculating the ‘normal value’ of a good in its country of origin, in certain circumstances.
This amendment improves the effectiveness of the ‘particular market situation’ provisions in the Customs Act—by providing greater flexibility for Customs to more accurately determine the ‘normal value’ of goods.
These first three reforms are delivered through this bill.
4. Additional forms of interim dumping duty
The fourth reform is delivered by the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendments Bill (No. 1) 2012 which amends the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Act 1975.
This allows for different forms of interim duty to be applied from those currently used.
The types of interim dumping duty which could be used will include an ad valorem duty, a fixed amount of duty, a combination duty, or a floor price mechanism.
The methods for working out these new forms of interim dumping duty will be outlined in regulations to be made in support of this amendment.
Release of the two working group reports
Today I am also releasing two reports from the International Trade Remedies Forum (the ITRF) that make important recommendations to improve the antidumping system.
The International Trade Remedies Forum is made up of 21 members representing manufacturers, producers and importers, as well as industry associations, trade unions and relevant government agencies:
Dried Fruits Australia (on behalf of the National Farmers’ Federation)
Australian Industry Group
Australian Steel Association
Australian Food and Grocery Council
Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)
Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Innovation, Industry and Science
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and
The first report examines Australia’s ‘particular market situation’ provisions. It was prepared by the market situation working group made up of representatives from:
the Australian Industry Group:
Australian Food and Grocery Council;
Australian Steel Association;
Australian Workers’ Union;
Dow Chemical Company;
the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association; and
representatives from a number of government agencies.
The report makes 16 recommendations. The government will implement all of them.
One of the recommendations (3.4) is to remove the legislative limitations to determining profit when constructing the ‘normal value’ of a good.
This reform is made in this bill.
Other recommendations include:
changes to guidelines and Customs manual to clarify the evidentiary standards required to support an allegation of a particular market situation;
updating the questionnaires for exporters and foreign governments;
amending the Customs manual to reflect Customs and Border Protection’s new practice of working with applicants to develop market situation questionnaires; and
convening a separate working group to examine possible improvements to Australia’s countervailing provisions.
The government will implement these changes administratively—through changes to relevant guidelines, manuals and other arrangements.
The second report was prepared by the close processed agricultural working group of the ITRF, made up of representatives from:
Australian Dried Fruits;
Australian Food and Grocery Council;
Australian Pork Ltd;
the National Farmers’ Federation;
the CFMEU; and
representatives from relevant government agencies.
It made six recommendations—and the government will implement all of them.
retaining the close processed agricultural goods provisions of the Customs Act;
providing the Small and Medium Enterprise Support Officer (when appointed) with briefings, documentation and training that they need to work with Australian primary producers; and
continuing the operation of the close processed agricultural goods working group until mid-2012.
Not all of the views that are expressed in these reports are endorsed by the government. The government’s purpose in reforming Australia’s antidumping system is to improve access to the antidumping system for businesses and ensure that the antidumping investigations can be resolved more quickly.
These reforms also continue to ensure that Australia’s antidumping system complies with our international trade obligations.
Together, the bills in this tranche of reforms and the 22 recommendations from these reports will make a number of important improvements to our antidumping system.
Foreshadowing tranche four reforms
The fourth and final tranche of legislation to implement the antidumping reforms announced last year is planned to be introduced in the next parliamentary sittings.
The fourth tranche will contain reforms in three broad areas:
It will further amend the subsidies provisions of the Customs Act to ensure they better reflect the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
These changes will increase the clarity of these provisions by removing long-term interpretive issues that stakeholders have identified with these provisions.
Second, it will establish an anticircumvention framework in Australia.
The framework will prevent parties involved in importing goods into Australia which are subject to antidumping measures illegitimately circumventing Australia’s antidumping system to avoid duties.
Anticircumvention schemes have already been implemented overseas in the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Brazil and, most recently, in India.
The development of an overarching framework to address circumvention practices will send a strong warning to businesses which intentionally seek to avoid measures imposed through our antidumping system.
Third, it will strengthen the provisions that deal with noncooperation.
I want to ensure Australia’s antidumping system is effective in dealing with parties that do not cooperate with antidumping investigations. The next tranche of legislation will include further amendments to support the minister’s power to impose tougher dumping margins for parties that refuse to provide necessary information within a reasonable period.
These reforms directly address the concerns of business, workers and unions.
They will implement the reforms announced last year—and provide for a clearer and fairer system.
I commend these bills to the House.