The potential impact of recent changes in Australia's fair trading policy on trade with China
reportposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Richard Whitwell
In June 1997 the Australian government introduced a special law for the determination of dumping margins for goods exported from China. Under this new law the question of whether goods exported from China are dumped, is to be determined by special rules relating [sic] economies in transition. The result is that the anti-dumping rules applying to exports from China are to be inconsistent with the Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994. Such a change has the effect of increasing the likelihood of a dumping finding against goods exported from China, when compared with other exporting countries. The last ammendment to Australia's anti-dumping law that was deliberately inconsistent with the GATT was directed at the United States of America. That amendment provided for retaliation where Australia considered the actions of the other party against Australia were inconsistent with the intent of the GATT and the then Anti-Dumping Code. By comparison this latest policy change by the Australian government has raised lttle in the way of public debate. Apart from what appears to be a radical shift in trade policy for Australia and its relations with one of its major trading partners China, Australia has applied a high proportion of its anti-dumping measures against China. The incidence of anti-dumping measures as well as being high against China, appear to relate to the increase in the value of imports generally from China and not whether these were found to be dumped. It would appear that there is a tightening of rules relating to dumping against China, enhancing the opportunity to apply dumping measures against cost competitive exports from China. This change in the law has introduced an ability to apply temporary de facto tariffs on goods from China, without the odium of imposing a safeguard measure under the GATT 1994 Agreement on Safeguards.