Australian probe on Chinese aluminium exports welcomed

An Australian customs probe into alleged dumping of aluminium products from Chinese exporters is great news for Kiwi manufacturers, Ullrich Aluminimum founder Gilbert Ullrich says.

“It’s a miracle.”

Australia’s Customs and Border Protection Service launched the investigation after a complaint from Sydney-based Capral, which alleged that Chinese producers dumped aluminium goods into Australia at prices less than their normal value.

This cost the Australian industry in sales, jobs and profits, the complaint said.

Mr Ullrich said Australia was a key market for New Zealand producers, particularly as local building activity was slow. But Chinese competitors had taken hold of the market.

He was hopeful that the investigation would result in anti-dumping duties being imposed on Chinese imports, as the Canadian government has already done this year.

Even since the investigation was announced, Chinese manufacturers had already lifted their Australian prices, he said.

But Blackburn Croft director Jules Croft said it could be a double-edged sword for New Zealand producers if the investigation proved the allegations.

If Chinese exporters lost market share in Australia as a result of new entry prices, they might well put a greater focus on New Zealand exports.

It would then raise the question of whether the New Zealand industry should pick up the issue, Mr Croft said.

The Customs investigation would focus on several points, he said. First, whether dumping at export prices lower than domestic Chinese prices had occurred and whether subsidies had gone to Chinese producers, and finally whether this had caused material injury to Australian producers.

“There’s a reasonably high threshold for that to be proven.”

Capral said it expected a decision from the Customs service later this year.
 

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