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Trading in confidence: improving Australia's anti-dumping framework

International trade Trade agreements Fair trading regulation Australia

Contemporary Australia is entering a new period of economic transition. The realities of an increasingly globalised international economy bring to Australia both great opportunities and great challenges. In ensuring that the benefits of a more connected global economy in Australia are realised, however, robust regulatory mechanisms must be in place to ensure international entities trading within the Australian market are doing so in a way that is consistent with Australian and international law, and the spirit of the trade deals Australia has entered into.

This report examines Australia’s anti-dumping framework, the regulatory system that enables the federal government to monitor and respond to cases of predatory dumping in the country. Predatory dumping, the act of a country or entity flooding a foreign market with excess products at below-market cost in order to limit long-term competition in that market, has been a challenge for the international trading system for generations.

Indeed, the multilateral agreements at the heart of the the global trading system – those that form the basis of the World Trade Organisation – recognise the need for countries to have robust mechanisms in place to respond to cases of predatory dumping. In doing so, countries are not only able to ensure that fairness in the global trading system is maintained, they are similarly able to promote confidence in this trading system to their own population. Bolstering public confidence in trade is essential to its ongoing success, and anti-dumping frameworks are central to maintaining this public confidence.

This report begins by outlining 10 key recommendations aimed at improving Australia’s antidumping framework, which is limited in its ability to adequately support Australian industries subject to predatory dumping. The recommendations include calls for greater resource allocation, better data collection and publishing, as well as granting the AntiDumping Commission – the body charged with overseeing Australia’s anti-dumping regulations – greater abilities to punish entities circumventing Australian law.

The five key findings of this report are then outlined. This report has identified that characterisation of China as a Full Market Economy has severely curtailed Australia’s ability to respond to predatory dumping emanating from the Chinese market. Another impediment to the system is the overall lack of resources allocated towards it, and the challenge the Anti-Dumping Commission faces when intending to impose interim duties on entities circumventing Australian trade law. Additionally, this report has found that the process for average Australian businesses wishing to pursue an anti-dumping case can be extremely expensive, which limits the equitable access to the system.

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