The Trade Minister Steven Ciobo must clarify his statement today where he said that the Anti-Dumping Commission’s decisions on the dumping of A4 copy paper from Indonesia were “being reviewed”.

The Minister’s remarks suggest he is interfering with the role of the independent Commission. 

Mr Ciobo, who has been in Indonesia this week, reportedly expressed concern over preliminary assessments by the Anti-Dumping Commission, which found that Australia’s paper industry had “suffered material injury” as a result of dumped A4 copy paper from Indonesia and other markets.

When commenting on the investigation being undertaken by the Anti-Dumping Commission, Mr Ciobo said:

‘‘That’s a decision that is being reviewed”
Steven Ciobo, Fairfax 10/03/17 

The Anti-Dumping Commission has already released three Preliminary Affirmative Determinations (PAD) as part of its investigation, including a PAD in November 2016, which found that:

“The Commissioner is satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for the publication of a dumping duty notice in relation to the goods exported to Australia from Indonesia”
Anti-Dumping Commission, November 2016.

Mr Ciobo’s comments are not only of concern in light of the Commission’s previous findings, they have also been issued before the final report of the Anti-Dumping Commission has even been lodged.

There have been numerous delays in releasing the Commission’s final report in this investigation.

Most recently, the final report was due today. But the Commission gave notice of a further delay just 24 hours before the already extended deadline.

This is despite the fact that the Commissioner, Dale Seymour, said in Senate Estimates last Thursday:

''I have gone through the draft final and I am due to provide my final report next week. I am very confident that the matter will be concluded by early next week.”
Senate Estimates, Economics Legislation Committee, Thurs 02/03/17.

Trade Minister Steve Minister Ciobo and Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos should let the Anti-Dumping Commission get on with its job.

The fact that the Anti-Dumping Commission has sought another extension of time to submit its final report, off the back of Minister Ciobo’s comments that the decision is now under review, raises a serious question about the level of political interference in the role of the independent Commission.

The Anti-Dumping Commission is an independent authority, operating under the auspices of the Department of Industry in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) sanctioned provisions to defend Australian firms from unfair trade practices.

This apparent interference by Trade Minister Steven Ciobo with the role of the independent Commission is very concerning. I am surprised that the Industry Minister, Arthur Sinodinos, has remained silent on this issue.

Industries, companies and workers are harmed when overseas goods are dumped into the Australian market, and a fair and effective anti-dumping regime has to be maintained. 

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  • Roger Simpson
    commented 2017-03-13 13:59:46 +1100
    Dear Senator Carr,
    It is not government interference causing the Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) to review its preliminary finding of dumping of A4 copy paper from Indonesia. The ADC’s preliminary dumping finding was solely based on its non-evidentiary view that the Government of Indonesia’s (GOI’s) policies/programs concerning Indonesia’s timber industry created artificially low Indonesian A4 copy paper market prices. The ADC’s further investigation since that preliminary finding has found that it cannot be established as a matter of fact that the GOI’s timber policies/programs have created artificially low A4 copy paper prices, the basis of its preliminary finding. Please examine submissions from Roger D Simpson & Associates and the GOI on the ADC’s electronic public record.
    Yours sincerely,
    Roger Simpson