The vegetable industry is pleased to see action from the Federal Government to help curb the levels of illegal dumping occurring in Australia, says AUSVEG. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has committed the government to act upon key recommendations in the Brumby anti-dumping review and establish an anti-dumping commission.
“The Australian vegetable industry like those in the manufacturing sector, have borne the brunt of actions by foreign countries to subvert the ideals of free trade,” said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager William Churchill.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“Trade as a tool is helpful to everyone when we operate on a level playing field, but some foreign countries bend the rules subsidising industries to stamp out competition. This doesn’t just create an unequal playing field it’s more akin to a tectonic plate driving over the playing field. That’s the level of inequality we’re dealing with,” said Mr Churchill.
The Australian vegetable industry was involved in the consultation process as part of the Brumby anti-dumping review.
“It was ghastly to see the number of Australian industries that are being bludgeoned by these unconscionable and unfair practices. In addition to the food industry, similar situations are being seen in the glass, steel, aluminium, chemical and paper industries. It should be applauded that steps are now being taken to establish an outfit capable of pursuing those who are causing injury to Australian industry,” said Mr Churchill.
Earlier this year during a study mission to Europe AUSVEG received a briefing on the European horticulture industry. In the Netherlands and Belgium growers are receiving subsidies from the European Union to the tune of 23%.
“Not one cent of subsidy goes into Australian grower’s pockets. The facts of life in this country are if you’re inefficient or you aren’t smart about your business, you’ll go bust. It’s life on the edge for many growers. Continually we are asked to charge less for produce and accept higher costs of production.”
“To then be expected to compete against imported goods dumped here at a fraction of their true value is offensive. Hopefully, with the establishment of the new anti-dumping commission, a long term change of government policy will reflect that if free trade agendas are to be pursued then all players must be using the same rulebook,” said Mr Churchill.