Investigation dumped

Australian Paper’s ongoing campaign to tackle cheap Chinese paper imports has been dealt a blow, after a Federal investigation found the country is not ‘dumping’ product in the Australian market.

Australian Paper, with the support of the Construction Forestry Energy and Mining Union and Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, has lobbied extensively for the Anti-Dumping Commission to investigate the importation of Chinese A4 and A3 copy paper, undercutting Australian market prices.

While the ADC acknowledged the cheap Chinese imports were causing injury to local manufacturing in its preliminary Statement of Essential facts last month, it said the imports were not priced low enough to be qualified as ‘dumping’.

“We are disappointed that the preliminary assessment that Chinese imports are very close to, but not quite classified as ‘dumped’ in Australia,” Australian Paper acting chief operating officer Peter Williams said.

‘Dumping’ is a form of predatory pricing in which a product is exported into overseas markets in large quantities at low prices, undercutting local producers in importing countries.

According to CFMEU Maryvale secretary Anthony Pavey, Australia imported 70,000 tonnes of Chinese paper in 2013, representing one third of local copy paper market.

“If this paper was sold at $5 per ream, instead of a dumped price of $2.35, this would’ve represented about $140 million worth of paper,” Mr Pavey said.

“The ADC has explicitly acknowledged in its interim report this is hurting us, is hurting Valley jobs at Maryvale Mill, but still it’s legal under current laws – it’s pretty disappointing and frustrating frankly.”

Mr Pavey said current Australian anti-dumping legislation was too lax in the free market arrangement with China – where paper manufacturing is government subsidised.

Australian Paper is considering an appeal against the ADC’s findings, pending their final decision.

In the meantime, Australian Paper has appealed with consumers to support locally produced paper to level the playing field.

“We ask all Australians to think carefully about their choice of copy paper by always looking for the Australian-made symbol to support the future of local paper manufacturing and local jobs,” Mr Williams said.