Robust and timely anti-dumping provisions are essential and equitable

Global overcapacity in steel production and increasingly protectionist trade policies have led to an increase in the dumping of marginally costed steel and fabricated steel onto global export markets. Robust and timely anti-dumping provisions that are world-class are needed to provide effective defence against unfair trade to Australian steel manufacturers and fabricators.

Steel is an important component of our advanced manufacturing capability. A vibrant Australian steel industry ensures a secure, flexible and high-quality supply of finished steel for everything from roads and bridges to skyscrapers, hospitals, schools and homes. It also supports the country’s transition to a more diversified, high-value-adding sustainable economy and plays a key role in achieving sustainability targets in both infrastructure and commercial development. 

An independent and self-sufficient steel supply chain is a vital strategic economic asset. The local steel value chain has been operating within a free market environment for some decades and is accustomed to working within the current trade regime of only minor or no tariffs on imported steels. The ASI understands that the Australian value chain must be competitive but believes that if given a level playing field against international supply it can complete.

Globally, however, the steel industry is facing headwinds driven by overcapacity and a rise in protectionism. These factors have resulted in an increase in the dumping of marginally costed steel and fabricated steel onto global export markets, creating stresses across the industry. 

Australia needs robust and timely anti-dumping provisions that are world-class, at least the equal of those of other like countries and provide effective defense against unfair trade to Australian manufacturers and fabricators.

The ASI supports Australia’s compliance with WTO anti-dumping guidelines and the application of a robust and dynamic anti-dumping regime. We support free and fair trade and believe in the rules-based system underpinned by WTO protocols that support global trade. Australia needs to maintain a system that is the equivalent of comparable nations. The best way forward for Australia is for industry and government to work cooperatively to apply economic policies and secure optimal international trade outcomes.

The ASI supports free and fair trade. Global trade needs to be rules-based to support free and fair trade

There are several measures that the ASI believes should be implemented to improve the operation of Australia’s anti-dumping system. While some require legislative change, others are a matter for policy and for the interpretation of the existing legislation by the Commission and relevant departments.

  1. Combat duty circumvention by directing the Anti-Dumping Commissioner to impose the Combination form of duty
  2. Establish a government/industry taskforce to recommend (within six months) changes that make it easier for downstream fabricators to lodge effective anti-dumping and anti-circumvention applications
  3. Tighten current anti-circumvention legislation and practices to ensure the collection of duties are fully enforced
  4. Replace mandatory consideration of the ‘Lesser Duty Rule’ and adopt the language of the WTO, which states: “it is desirable to consider the Lesser Duty Rule if such duty is adequate to remove injury”
  5. Align the time period in which dumping securities are able to be converted to dumping duties with WTO best practice: i.e. an increase from four to six months
  6. Require the Anti-Dumping Commission to self-initiate an investigation where there is evidence of potential breaches, especially in relation to anti-circumvention inquiries
  7. Implement a review of government practices and legislation to determine what trade data can be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to allow informed decision-making by businesses regarding potential dumping and circumvention
  8. Direct the Commissioner to reject exporter requests for non-disclosure of ‘model matching’ when calculating dumping margins
  9. Clarify the existing legislation to allow the Minister to specify different margins for different models of products
  10. Clarify that currency conversion provisions apply equally in cases of exporter country currency appreciation and devaluation.