As readers will no doubt be aware, the ADC has conducted a number of investigations into alleged subsidies and dumping of aluminium products.
However, this is the first anti-circumvention inquiry undertaken by the ADC since the introduction of new provisions in the Customs Act 1901 ("the Act") to prevent the circumvention of anti-dumping measures. You may remember these measures formed part of the package of improvements entitled “Streamlining Australia’s anti-dumping system” throughout 2013.
The purposes of the anti-circumvention measures are to investigate and deter activities undertaken by exporters and importers designed to avoid paying the relevant dumping or countervailing duty.
The ADC's action may not be a huge surprise to many who have already been subject to audits and/or search warrants in relation to aluminium products being exported from China. It is merely another example of the tightening of the anti-dumping regime and by border protection regulators more generally. Concerned parties need to keep up to date with the ADC's investigations and inquiries and take these issues seriously.
The ADC has initiated the Inquiry following an application made by Capral Limited ("the Applicant"), an Australian manufacturer of aluminium extrusions.
The Applicant claims that five importers have engaged in activity that avoids the intended effect of the duty imposed on the goods, which are alleged to have been imported from PanAsia Aluminium (China) Limited. To find that circumvention activity has occurred, the importers must have either directly or through an associate, sold the goods in Australia without increasing the price commensurate with the dumping duty imposed on those goods.
Should the ADC find that the anti-circumvention activity has occured, it has the power to amend the original dumping duty notice by expanding the specification of the goods or exporters subject to the original notice or to alter the variable factors in respect of existing or new exporters.
In this case, the Applicant is seeking that the dumping duty notice be amended so that a deductive approach to reascertaining export prices is used and the fixed amount of dumping duty be increased to reflect the reduced ascertained export price to ensure the importer's prices reflect the dumping duty imposed.
Interested parties are invited to make submissions by no later than 24 May 2014 and the ADC will provide its recommendation to the Parliamentary Secretary on or before 23 July 2013.
More details with respect to the description of the goods and the inquiry itself can be found in ADN No. 2014/31 at http://www.adcommission.gov.au/cases/documents/002-ADN2014-31_000.pdf. The Consideration Report No. 241 and other materials related to the Inquiry can be found on the public record number 241 at http://www.adcommission.gov.au/cases/EPR241.asp.