Anti-dumping Laws
Database Senate Hansard
Date 01-09-1994
Source Senate
Parl No. 37
Electorate QLD
Interjector Senator Campbell
Page 795
Party NP
Questioner Senator BOSWELL
Responder Senator SCHACHT
System Id chamber/hansards/1994-09-01/0058


Senator BOSWELL —My question is directed to the Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction. I refer to the administration of our anti-dumping laws. Why are Australian customs requirements so harsh when both Australia and the US are members of GATT and when the Hawaiian pineapple industry can instigate an anti-dumping action which will see duties imposed at the rate of 138 per cent after a five-month investigation and when domestic prices have dropped by 10 per cent over the last year? Why is this the case when Australian producers under customs requirements have to suffer material injury for three successive years and have a 20 per cent market loss before commencing an anti-dumping action, as well as suffering the uncertainties arising from challenges to duties at any time within the three-year period, and when duties are suspended, as is presently happening in the Australian tomato industry?

Senator SCHACHT —I acknowledge that Senator Boswell gave me notice he would be asking this question. I am very pleased he did because I am able to give him some very—

  Senator Alston interjecting

Senator SCHACHT —Look, boofhead, I know you would not think about giving any notice. Senator Boswell had the courtesy to indicate that he wanted to ask this question dealing with dumping matters—clearly a technical matter—and, clearly, in the specific case that Senator Boswell has raised, I am trying to get decent information for him on his interest.

  I must say to Senator Alston that recently I was in Queensland with Mr Swan, the honourable member for Lilley, and visited the Golden Circle pineapple cannery in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. It is interesting to note that I was told that the only opposition member who had ever shown any interest in the pineapple industry was Senator Boswell. I suppose he is the only one who knows that turning up at a pineapple factory is a bit different from turning up to a League of Rights meeting. We know what he thinks of the League of Rights. I have no hesitation in thanking Senator Boswell for his cooperation.

  The information I have received for the Senate, and particularly for Senator Boswell, from my department is as follows: it is not true that Australian producers must suffer material injury for three successive years in order to lodge an anti-dumping application; nor is it true that there must be a 20 per cent market loss for an action to be commenced. There is no foundation in Australia's legislation for this assertion.

  There have been many instances in recent times—frozen concentrated orange juice is one example of interest to primary industry—where material injury was considered on the basis of a period of a few months rather than several years. Over the last two years there have been several contacts between the Customs Service dumping liaison unit and the canned pineapple industry, including Golden Circle, on the question of possible anti-dumping action—most recently within the last three months, and that included my own discussions with them when I was invited there two or three months ago.

Senator Campbell —Mr President, I rise on a point of order. I wonder whether you might add a little sunshine to the proceedings of the Senate and ask for a bit of quiet. I am actually quite interested in the answer and I cannot hear a thing because of Senator Faulkner, Senator Cook and everyone else.

The PRESIDENT —I agree entirely with you, Senator Campbell. There is far too much audible conversation across the chamber by both sides. This is a serious matter and deserves serious attention.

Senator SCHACHT —Thank you, Mr President. I am sure that as a result of those discussions the industry is happy with the assistance and advice it received from the Customs department outlining the way in which the industry, if it wants to, could take up an anti-dumping case on the issue of imported fruit—whether it is pineapples, tomatoes or any other fruit. I say to Senator Boswell that if the industry wants to have further discussions with Customs and seek advice about lodging an anti-dumping case in accordance with the law, we will be there to assist it.

  I conclude by saying that it is interesting to note that a comparison with the US system was made in Senator Boswell's question. In the GATT and in other international discussions about dumping it is widely recognised that the US system is the most complex and demanding on applicants. In the circumstances, we believe that the basis for comparison with the USA is not fair.

  I again say to Senator Boswell and to any interested industry: if they want to have discussions about launching an anti-dumping case, they can have those discussions with my department at any time and get that advice. But the dumping case must be heard in accordance with the law that is laid down by this parliament and it cannot be fixed by other, informal arrangement. There is a very clear status of law for anti-dumping which must be met. Procedures must be followed in accordance with the law that this parliament has carried.