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Thursday, 22 April 1999
Page: 4125

Senator MURRAY (1:09 PM) —The Customs (Anti-dumping Amendments) Bill 1998 and the Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998 provide a special approach for determining the normal value of allegedly dumped goods from countries in transition to a market economy where the selling price of those goods is subject to government control. A number of our neighbours fall into that category.

The bills also provide for a new methodology for determining the normal value of allegedly dumped goods where the goods are exported from a country in transition to a market economy and the raw material input into the goods which accounts for more than 10 per cent of the costs of producing the goods is supplied by a state owned enterprise.

As the previous speakers have already outlined, these are issues which have been very much at the forefront of consideration by the parliament as a whole and by the Senate, with inquiries into various bills and various debates focusing on the very real problems in this area. For that reason the Democrats welcome the appearance, finally, of these bills on our legislative calendar. We think they are long overdue and very valuable.

As a member of the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, I point out that the committee was concerned that a number of amendments commenced on 1 January 1993—six years ago. The amendments were designed, according to the explanatory memorandum, to ensure that approximately $12 million in interim duties collected since 1 January 1993 is not subject to legal challenge.

The minister replied, in response to the committee inquiry, that the relevant provisions had not been subject to judicial interpretation and that there were no cases currently pending which would be affected by the amendments. It was felt that this particular retrospective activity had been quarantined and could be accepted therefrom. For those reasons, we accept that these bills can be regarded as non-controversial and we support them accordingly.