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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4025

Mr Kerin —On 17 November 1986 (Hansard, page 3195), the honourable member for Riverina-Darling (Mr Hicks) asked the Prime Minister a question, without notice, concerning imports of frozen concentrated orange juice from Brazil.

Further to the Prime Minister's answer, the following additional information is provided:

The Government does recognise that the Australian citrus industry is experiencing considerable problems because of the impact on local processing fruit prices of low priced imports of frozen concentrated orange juice from Brazil. The industry itself recognises that it must re-orient its activities more towards producing for the fresh market it it is to be put into a stronger economic position.

Some relief for the industry should be provided as a result of the preliminary finding by the Australian Customs Service that dumping of Brazilian frozen concentrated orange juice has been occurring and has caused material injury to the Australian industry. The Australian Customs Service has recently released details concerning the minimum free on board export price level at which it considers imports will not cause injury to the local orange growing industry. The minimum price determined is $A1,640 per metric tonne of concentrate, unpacked at the port of shipment.

The effect of the provisional anti-dumping measures is not meaningless. It has raised the price of imported orange juice concentrate by approximately 30%. While not all of this price rise may flow through to growers because of the current high stocks held by Australian processors, the growing industry should receive some relief during the current orange harvest. The dumping investigation is continuing and a final decision on the anti-dumping measures is expected in mid March next year.

In response to the current problems being faced by citrus growers because of low priced imports, the Industries Assistance Commission, as part of its long term inquiry into the fruit and fruit produce industries, was asked by the Government to look into the question of temporary assistance for the orange growing industry. The Industries Assistance Commission has recently submitted its report recommending no change be made in the existing and scheduled tariff on orange juice and frozen orange juice concentrate and that citrus growers be encouraged to take advantage of the adjustment, measures available under the Rural Adjustment Scheme. The Government is carefully considering the Commission's report and other information available and will announce a decision on appropriate measures as soon as practicable.