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Costly and slow road to justice squashes canned tomato industry

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Media Release

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Shadow Minister for Primary Industry|·Î¯Î™Î¯&ΐκίίΐΐίΜ§»*§Î­}ίι^'ί^ά'Κ,!·ÎÎ•Î¯&άνί·Î¯¥Î‘,>£Îª^ίϊ·!5^.·Î¯Î¦Î"^ν···^&ί.νζ!£^Μ·&ί&*' ' ‘ '" """ * "" 1 ‘ ‘ For farther information: Parliament House, Canberra A C T 2600

Telephone: 06/2774193 Facsimile: 06/2772053


Australia's canned tomato industry has had to be virtually decimated before effective action could be taken to prevent dumped and subsidised product coming into the country, according to National Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Primary Industry, Bruce Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said it cost the industry more than $120,000 to fight the imports which are selling . here cheaper than in their country of origin and are highly subsidised.

Last week the Australian Customs Service found in favour the Australian canning industry and confirmed that tomatoes from Italy, Spain, Thailand were being both dumped and subsidised and tomatoes from China were dumped.

"The Australian industry has been hurting for two years, (this was acknowledged by Customs in its report when it said the Australian industry was found to have suffered material injury since 1989'), and yet it has taken until now to get sureties into place to protect the industry.

"It's a bit like giving mouth to mouth to an Egyptian mummy.

"The industry is in shambles. Dozens of grower' contracts with canners have been cancelled, the money they spent on the special irrigation and harvesting equipment needed for growing tomatoes wasted, and their lives have been shattered.

"On July 19, the Canned Food Information Service Inc applied to Customs on behalf of associated canners after having gathered the evidence it needed. It was August 27 when Customs agreed that the evidence provided reasonable grounds to initiate an inquiry and the results of this were announced on December 5.

"It is a costly and slow process and even though the Government moved last June to allow growers of the primary raw product to mount a case, very few groups can afford the money needed."

Mr Lloyd said he had been assured by customs that the sureties in place for tomatoes means that importers have to set aside money to cover the difference between the dumped price and the price that the product is sold in the country of origin, together with the additional money for those products which are also subsidised.

The matter now goes before the Anti-Dumping Authority and if it, and the Minister, agree with Customs, the sureties will be called up and duties set.

Mr Lloyd said under the Government's new rules, the Minister may set a percentage duty to prevent any back door deals to show import prices at a level which do not attract duty, but offer kick backs in other areas.