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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3394


Mr JOHN BROWN (Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, Minister for Administrative Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Commerce)(4.33) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is complementary to the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendment Bill ( No. 2) 1983. It proposes to amend the Customs Act 1901 and the Industries Assistance Commission Act 1973 to introduce new provisions resulting from the review of Australia's anti-dumping and countervailing legislation.

To complement the powers provided to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Act to combat sales dumping, or so-called hidden dumping, Part II of the Bill adds a provision into the Customs Act empowering a Collector of Customs or an officer appointed by him to enter certain premises on a warrant and also to request persons, by written notice, to furnish documents and information and to attend and give evidence in respect of goods subject to anti-dumping action. These additional powers are necessary to enable effective investigation of practices such as secret rebates and package deals, which are part of hidden dumping schemes between parties to import transactions.

Clause 7 in this Part of the Bill introduces new provisions into the Customs Act to enable the Minister, or his delegate, to authorise the convening of meetings of the Australian industry which is party to a complaint of dumping or subsidisation for the sole purpose of providing advice as to non-injurious prices or quantities which might be incorporated in any voluntary undertakings by exporters or by governments. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade anti- dumping code, the GATT code on subsidies and countervailing duties and the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement encourage the resolution of complaints through consultation and the acceptance of undertakings .

The Customs Act will also be amended by clause 7 to provide that the Trade Practices Act specifically applies to meetings convened under the new provision and that all parties to such meetings must comply fully with that Act. The provisions of proposed section 269V will require interested parties to a dumping or subsidisation complaint to submit written information that they may wish to provide relative to the complaint verified by statutory declaration or witnessed by a notary public. This will require persons supplying written information they wish to be taken into consideration to be satisfied as to the accuracy of that information.

The Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Act provides an opportunity for the Industries Assistance Commission to review dumping and countervailing decisions. The Government takes the view that such reviews should be confined to the facts of the particular case, that as the question at issue is one relating to unfair trading practices and is not an industry assistance matter, then the policy guidelines in the Industries Assistance Commission Act on industry assistance issues are not relevant. The measures in Part III of this Bill propose to amend the Industries Assistance Commission Act to provide that the reviews by the Commission are conducted as reviews of the facts relating to dumping or countervailing issues. The measures contained in this Bill will have no direct financial impact. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Moore) adjourned.