Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


New public interest test for anti-dumping regime?

New public interest test for anti-dumping regime?

12 June 2014

The Government is considering inserting a new public interest test into New Zealand’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties regime.

Submissions are due by 30 June 2014.

The proposal is among a number of reform options outlined in a discussion paper released by Commerce Minister Craig Foss last week. It follows the suspension last month of anti-dumping duties on imported construction products.

The current regime
The present law is intended to protect local manufacturing industries. It effectively requires the Minister of Commerce to impose anti-dumping duties on imported goods where:
• an investigation finds the imported goods to be dumped or subsidised, and
• the dumping of those goods is causing or threatening to cause material injury to a domestic industry.
But the Government is increasingly concerned that these protections may be doing more economic harm than good by:
• reducing competition in local industries
• causing higher prices to domestic consumers, and
• adversely impacting New Zealand’s terms of trade.

Reform options
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is suggesting that officials should have flexibility not to impose anti-dumping duties in some cases under a “bounded public interest test”. This approach is in line with EU and Canadian law. Australia, however, recently decided not to follow this route. It instead retains a ministerial discretion (which is hardly ever used) not to impose duties on public interest grounds.

The discussion paper offers two alternative approaches:
• the provision of (subjective) public interest criteria, or
• the provision of (objective) numerical thresholds.
In both cases the tests would be an additional final step in the existing decision making process.

Public interest criteria
This option would give the decision maker (MBIE or the Minister) a broad discretion to impose duties after taking account of factors such as:
• the competitive effects on local markets (including any lessening of competition)
• the impact on employment in the domestic industry and associated upstream industries
• any potential harm on downstream industries, including their ability to access necessary inputs, and
• whether duties would restrict consumer choice or availability of goods at competitive prices.

Numerical thresholds
In contrast to the public interest test, this option would include fixed thresholds and so limit the amount of discretion the Minister can exercise.

Suggested criteria include:
• the market share of the domestic industry (as an indicator of the number of market participants that would benefit), and
• the domestic cost of production vs. the price of the imported goods when duties are imposed (as an indicator of the effectiveness of the duties in reducing the harm suffered by the domestic industry).

Neither list is fixed
MBIE has requested submissions on both criteria lists and whether any other factors should be added. MBIE, for example, suggests that the long term viability of the domestic industry absent the duties should be included in the public interest criteria.

MBIE also invites feedback on the weight to be given to domestic producers’ interests relative to other participants in the New Zealand economy, such as consumers. This wider question overarches the entire proposal.

Chapman Tripp comments
While anti-dumping duties may be imperfect, any reform of the anti-dumping regime needs to be careful to ensure a fair competitive platform for New Zealand manufacturers. Relaxing the anti-dumping test will make it harder for New Zealand manufacturers to withstand price undercutting from low-cost importers.

Even if we choose reform, the two MBIE proposals are quite different, and their policy goals and potential consequences will need to be carefully thought through. For example, the public interest test is far more fluid than the existing regime. It potentially gives elected Ministers a much greater role in deciding which industries to protect. The thresholds, while appearing more “certain”, are likely to be hard to draft and may deprive the Government of future flexibility.

We encourage local industries and importers to participate in the consultation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Asylum: Dunne Accepts Hundreds Of Postcards On Refugee Categories

Minister Peter Dunne today accepted over 800 postcards calling for convention refugees to have the same entitlements as quota refugees... The campaign has been run with ActionStation together with LUSH Cosmetics, with postcards being signed in stores around New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: PM Announces Changes To Ministerial Portfolios

Prime Minister Bill English today announced the appointment of Gerry Brownlee as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nathan Guy as Minister of Civil Defence, Nikki Kaye as Minister of Education and Mark Mitchell as Minister of Defence. More>>

ALSO:

Q+A Transcript: CTU Call For 'National Standards' On Wages

‘If you look at countries who do better than us, who pay wages better, who have more competitive industries, more successful economies, they have systems where there are national standards.’ More>>

ALSO:

Energy: Greens Launch Plan For Cheaper And Cleaner Electricity

$112 million for winter warm-up payments to help low-income households cover their power bills • setting a goal for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 (in average hydrological conditions) • an investigation into the electricity wholesale market. More>>

ALSO:

Health Workers Respond: People's Mental Health Report Released

The People's Mental Health Review reinforces a recent YesWeCare.nz survey of 6,000 health workers, which found nine in 10 believe they don't have the staff or resources to deliver the care Kiwis need when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

More Mental Health:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news