SYDNEY: Australia Tuesday announced tough new anti-dumping measures to counter an influx of cheap products that are hurting its struggling manufacturing industry and costing jobs.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the moves would "deliver stronger protection for Australian industry against unfair competition from overseas".
"It is not acceptable for Australian jobs to be put at risk by products being dumped into this country," she said, while refusing to single out any specific nations or put a value on dumped goods.
Dumping refers to the unfair trade practice where imported goods are sold at prices below their normal value, hurting local businesses and their workers.
"The government will support manufacturing by strengthening the system for investigating dumping and applying remedies where dumping is injuring local producers," Gillard said.
The measures include establishing a new Anti-Dumping Commission to probe complaints while boosting funding to Customs by nearly A$25 million (US$26 million) so it can double the number of investigators.
New laws will also be introduced to deal with overseas producers who deliberately circumvent Australia's anti-dumping rules.
Australia's manufacturing industry employs a million people with products affected by dumping in recent years including steel, chemicals, aluminium goods and paper products.
While Australia's mining-driven economy dodged recession during the global financial crisis, its manufacturers have been hit not only by cheap dumped products, but a high Australian dollar and intense global competition.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which has long campaigned with other unions for a dedicated anti-dumping commission, welcomed the announcement.
"Australian industry and jobs have been suffering from the impact of dumped goods for too long," said CFMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor.
"This new agency should help level the playing field for locally produced goods through investigating and penalising dumpers."
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