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Australia Asked To Reinstate Toilet Paper Anti-Dumping Duties

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, has said that the Australian government should reinstate the anti-dumping duties on toilet paper imports from China and Indonesia that protected more than 1,500 jobs in South Australia.

The Australian Customs Service (Customs) initiated the investigation into the import of toilet paper in rolls from China and Indonesia in March 2008 following an assessment of an application lodged by Kimberly-Clark and SCA. The applicable duty rate for China and Indonesia is 5%.

Customs’ findings were published in December 2008, in which it concluded that exports of toilet paper from China to Australia were being dumped by a margin of 2% to 25%, and from Indonesia to Australia by a margin of 33% to 45%. It added that there was a causal link between the dumped imports and material injury to the Australian industry, which would be likely to continue. Equivalent anti-dumping duties were then introduced.

However, following protests from the exporters and Australian importers, Customs instigated a reinvestigation in June 2009, which reported on January 12, 2010. It, contrarily, found that, while the imported goods were being dumped, the injury suffered by the Australian toilet paper industry was caused more by “other factors than by the dumping of the goods exported from China and Indonesia.” The anti-dumping duties were therefore revoked on the same day.

Nick Xenophon has now brought the issue back into the limelight as, he says, the dumping of toilet paper, which has been confirmed by Customs, is likely to cause the loss of at least 1,500 jobs in South Australia, and possibly more country-wide, from the AUD950m (USD820m) Australian toilet paper industry.

He also cast doubt upon the environmental provenance of the imported paper, given that he suspected that at least some of the product could have been sourced from rainforest timber.

He is to request that Customs explain what other factors were considered to be more important than the confirmed dumping in reaching their decision.