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Industry groups call on the Federal Government to implement its anti-dumping system in light of the Asian economic crisis

PETER CAVE: Australian Industry groups are demanding the Federal Government rush in its new anti-dumping system in light of the Asian economic crisis. Changes include a slashing of the time for dumping rulings to be issued from the present 215 days to 155 days. The new system has been welcomed by the Industry Anti-Dumping Task Force and Chairman, Bruce McAlon, told John Taylor cheap imports are already flooding into Australia.

BRUCE McALON: It's always happening. It's reflective of the economic conditions of the era, I suppose. In times of recession, of course, the incidence of dumping increases dramatically and in the good times it declines.

JOHN TAYLOR: And what sort of industries are we looking at here?

BRUCE McALON: It's a broad spectrum of manufacturing industries, from food processing to chemicals, to textiles, to paper, glass and so on.

JOHN TAYLOR: Do you believe the Government's new anti-dumping system that they've promised to introduce and announced yesterday that they will introduce, will actually help combat the practice of dumping cheap imports on Australian markets?

BRUCE McALON: Yes, I do, and it's something that the manufacturing Task Force has been urging this government to do ever since it came to office. I think it's the singular most important initiative for manufacturing that's been shown by the Government, notwithstanding decisions on textiles, clothing and footwear and motor vehicles. This initiative by the Government will help to protect what we believe would be over 100,000 jobs. I believe that there is bipartisan support, both from the Opposition parties and the Democrats and others, for this legislation to be implemented as soon as possible. So we would be urging the Government to give high priority to the introduction of this legislation in this session of Parliament and to expedite its process through the Parliament in this session. So that's something we'll be urging the Government to do.

JOHN TAYLOR: Do you think the incidence of dumping is going to increase, given the current Asian economic crisis?

BRUCE McALON: Well, I believe it will because, speaking to counterparts in the United States, Canada and Europe, those areas are gearing for an onslaught of dumped products. They think it's generally recognised that the Asian meltdown will cause those economies to try to export their way out of trouble, and when they do that, of course, there will be amongst those exports a high percentage of dumped product.

JOHN TAYLOR: And that means bad news for industry and jobs and profits in those countries that are targeted by-well, those targets that receive these cheap imports.

BRUCE McALON: Exactly. Exactly. And as the other nations in the world have got very good defence mechanisms against dumping and we don't, then of course we stand very vulnerable.

PETER CAVE: Bruce McAlon, the Chairman of the Industry Anti-Dumping Task Force.