Archive for December 2019

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Wharf and Container Park Expenses as at 1st January 2020

Wharf and Container Park Expenses as at 1st January

 

Good morning,

 

Please find attached notification from our container carrier regarding wharf and container park expenses as from 1st January 2020.

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Agricultural Trade Matters, December 2019

Agricultural Trade Matters, December 2019

#AusAgtoAsia – Minister McKenzie’s visit to Japan, Korea and Vietnam

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie completed a week-long tour to trading partners in Asia at the end of August.

The minister was joined by the head of the Department of Agriculture Daryl Quinlivan, as well as heads of other government departments and agricultural industry representatives, on a trip that aimed to further strengthen our relationships with Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

Amy Fox, head of the Department of Agriculture’s Strategic Trade Policy and North Asia Branch, said that the visit presented a prime opportunity to promote Australia’s food and fibre to some of our largest trading partners.

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The role of trade in regional food security in the Asia-Pacific

Open, efficient and reliable international agricultural and food markets help to manage risks and allow food to move to where it is needed. This in turn improves access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for people across the world.

This perspective forms a crucial part of Australia’s approach to food security, the focus of the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Food Security Week and the 5th Food Security Ministerial Meeting in Puerto Varas, Chile.

Food Security Week, held from 15–24 August 2019, saw representatives from all 21 APEC member economies come together to explore approaches to food security.

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New agriculture counsellor Jo Grainger

Jo Grainger will commence as the Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) in Brussels, Belgium, in January 2020.

Jo said she is honoured and excited to represent the Australian agriculture portfolio.

‘I am looking forward to the opportunity to support Australia’s trade to this important market and contributing to the Aus-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations,’ Ms Grainger said.

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Agricultural trade and investment in India

In recent years Australia has placed an increased focus on improving our trade and investment relationship with India.

The Department of Agriculture’s head of bilateral engagement Jodie McAlister said that with the largest concentration of people on earth, South Asia—particularly India—is too big to ignore.

‘India’s demand for food will outpace its domestic supply out to 2035. We have the opportunity to provide our food and fibre to billions, and we need to work now to be ready to take those opportunities in the future,’ Ms McAlister said.

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Certificate Scanner app adds ease to exporting

Dairy exporters will soon be able to find export information at their fingertips thanks to a new app that can scan QR codes on export certification.

The Certificate Scanner app, which will be available on app stores for Android and iPhone, will let exporters point their phone camera at export certificates to get easy access to details including certificate number, product, exporter, consignee, departure date and current certificate status.

Barbara Cooper, who has been overseeing the department’s Enhanced Traceability Project, said that the app forms part of our commitment to deliver regulatory functions in the most effective and efficient way possible.

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Mentoring future female leaders in Malaysia

From May to September, the Agriculture Counsellor in Kuala Lumpur Enrico Perotti participated in the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) Mentoring Programme.

The program, which targets female MABC members in middle management roles, aims to attract and retain women in the workforce. Mentees are matched with a mentor based on common goals, interests and professions.

All mentees said the program met their expectations, and cited that they valued the knowledge sharing, valuable inputs and guidance, different perspectives, assistance with important decisions, networking and the opportunity to learn from a leader.

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Food safety the focus of bilateral agreement with Taiwan

A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on food safety between Australia and Taiwan was signed on 29 October 2019 in Taipei, as part of the Bilateral Economic Consultations meeting.

The MoU builds on an existing food and safety agreement and provides a framework through which Australia and Taiwan will exchange information and cooperate on food safety matters.

Head of the Strategic Trade Policy and North Asia branch Amy Fox said that the MoU will help protect the strong economic relationship we have with Taiwan.

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Up to $400k available as a grant to support Australian agricultural trade

Have an idea for a project that will open the door to new trade opportunities and build relationships? You could be eligible for a grant of up to $400,000 (GST excluded).

Our Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program is now accepting grant applications.

Apply at grants.gov.au.

 

Events

For coming trade and exhibition events, please go to Austrade's event search.

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Stevedores told to think twice about price hike

Who does this notice affect?

Exporters, importers, freight forwarders, customs brokers and transport operators 

 

Stevedores told to think twice about price hike

 

On August 12 Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) had a very open and frank meeting with the Hon. Andrew Constance (Minister for Transport and Roads) on the issue of Infrastructure Fees.  The Minister shared our concerns and the impact these fees are having on not only the wider community but also in particular the agriculture exporters.

These issues were again raised with Peter Achterstraat AM (NSW Productivity Commissioner) and his senior advisors  when David Scott (FTA Member Representative Sea Freight / Commercial Freight & Logistics) and Paul Zalai (Director and Co Founder, FTA) met on November 5

Hopefully the media statement issued by Minister Constance is a sign that the message is finally getting through to the various state governments and that a complete review of these fees, as to their structure and how (as well as to who) they are applied needs to be addressed.

The Minister noted 
“Key stakeholders have raised concerns about the impact of increasing port charges in NSW that have potential to drive up the cost of everyday goods, as well as impacting the state’s economy and competitiveness of our exports. 

 
“They have also raised concerns around the frequency and lack of justification for these increased charges passed on by stevedores.” 
 
We look forward to our further discussions with the NSW Productivity Commissioner, as well as the respective Ministers in other states to ensure a national solution is found to these matters.

For background on our work so far please refer below commentary 

 

 

John Park - Head of Business Operations - FTA / APSA

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Biosecurity Import Levy

Biosecurity Import Levy

 

Last week, a contingent of Ministerial appointees to the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee were hosted by the Hon. Bridget McKenzie (Deputy Leader of the Nationals / Minister for Agriculture) at a function at Parliament House, Canberra.

The Minister  thanked the committee for its report and for the collaborative approach in making its recommendations under the leadership of chair, David Trebeck - refer HERE

Biosecurity Import Levy

 

Last week, a contingent of Ministerial appointees to the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee were hosted by the Hon. Bridget McKenzie (Deputy Leader of the Nationals / Minister for Agriculture) at a function at Parliament House, Canberra.

The Minister  thanked the committee for its report and for the collaborative approach in making its recommendations under the leadership of chair, David Trebeck - refer HERE

 

 

 

L to R - Paul Zalai (FTA / APSA), Margie Thomson (Cement Industry Federation), Stuart McFarlane (AFIF), Minister McKenzie, Rod Nairn (SAL), Mike Gallacher (Ports Australia), Peter Gneil (AIP) and Dimity McCredie (Cruise Lines Intl Assocn.)

 

 

Ministerial response - an alternate biosecurity levy

 

The Minister has today (11 December 2019) publicly responded to the eight (8) recommendations made by the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee - available HERE

In doing so, the Minister has officially declared that the Biosecurity Import Levy, as announced in the 2018-19 Budget, will not proceed.

This does mean that it has gone away, simply that it will be replaced by an "alternate biosecurity levy"... stay tuned for more !!

 

Increase in cost recovery fees

 

Importantly, this announcement about the Biosecurity Import Levy should not be confused with an increase in cost recovery fees that has also been announced today by the Department of Agriculture - refer HERE 

NOTE: Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) will be participating in the Department of Agriculture Cargo Consultative Committee (DCCC) meeting tomorrow to gain more detail on this unexpected increase on existing cost recovery fees.

 

Paul Zalai -  Director and Co-Founder, FTA / Secretariat, APSA

 

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Import Industry Advice Notice 211-2019

Import Industry Advice Notice

211/2019

Changes to biosecurity cost recovery

 

11 December 2019

Import Industry Advice Notice 211/2019

Changes to biosecurity cost recovery

has been published on the Department of Agriculture website and can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/industry-advice/2019/211-2019

Import Industry Advice Notices are available from the Department of Agriculture website at: www.agriculture.gov.au/iian

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Australia loses WTO dumping dispute implications for a range of Australian dumping duties

Australia loses WTO dumping dispute – implications for a range of Australian dumping duties

Indonesia was last week successful in its World Trade Organisation (WTO) appeal against dumping duties imposed by Australia on Indonesian A4 copy paper.  Australia was found to have imposed dumping duties that were inconsistent with its obligations as a WTO member.  The outcome flowed from the approach adopted by the Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) – importantly, it is the same approach adopted in respect of most dumping duties imposed on Chinese steel and aluminium products.  This means that the decision could result in Australia having to alter or reinvestigate a wide range of duties.

What is dumping and why is the WTO involved?
Dumping is said to occur when an exporter exports products to Australia at prices that are lower than the "normal value".  The "normal value" is usually the sale price of the same good in the exporter's domestic market.  Dumping is not illegal.  However, where dumping causes material injury to an Australian industry, Australia is permitted under the rules of the WTO to impose dumping duties.

It is important that the requirements of the WTO are met as otherwise the imposition of dumping duties is in breach of the basic WTO principle that all WTO members are afforded the same duty rates (with the main exception being free trade agreements).

Australia has been a very active user of the anti-dumping system to impose dumping duties on a range of products, with the largest category being steel and aluminium products from China.  Those duties can exceed 100% of the value of the goods.

The WTO becomes involved where a country that is the target of dumping duties complains that the duties were imposed outside of the WTO rules.

How did Australia breach the WTO rules?
General approach by the ADC
When calculating dumping duties, the normal comparison is between domestic sale prices and export prices.  The idea is to identify international price discrimination.  However, where there is a "particular market situation" in the exporter's country, the Australian Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) adopts a different approach.  An example of a "particular market situation" is Government interference in the market for the goods, or materials used to produce the goods.  In respect to Indonesia, the ADC found that the A4 copy paper prices in Indonesia were artificially low due to Government influence on raw materials (pulp) and the provision of subsidies.

Where a particular market situation is identified, the ADC constructs a "normal value" (the comparison value) and instead of using the real cost of production, it substitutes the manufacturer's actual material costs with what it considers to be a benchmark fair market price.  Usually this is a price based on an international index.  However, it only does this with the "normal value" and not the export price.  The export price is still the actual sale price which was naturally based on the low actual material costs.

Under this approach it is easy to find dumping, even if the real domestic sale prices and export prices are identical.  This is because half of the equation, the real domestic sale price, is replaced with a higher price based on the benchmark material costs, not the actual material costs.

Why is this in breach of WTO Rules?
Exporters are very aggrieved by this approach as they argue that if there is a Government influenced low material cost, that influence affects domestic sales and export sales identically.  As a result it is argued that it is still appropriate to compare actual sale figures and not construct an artificial, and higher, "normal value".

The WTO held that while a low cost input can constitute a "particular market situation" and justify the use of a constructed value, this outcome is not automatic.  In each case, the ADC needs to investigate the effect of the particular market situation on the domestic price in comparison to the effect on the export price.  The WTO Panel noted that the low cost input may have a different impact in different markets.  For instance, tight competition in an export market may mean that the manufacturing saving is fully passed on, while lesser competition in the domestic market, may mean that manufacturing profits are increased.

Importantly, the WTO Panel held that if the investigating authority finds that a proper comparison between domestic and export sales is not possible, it is required to give a reasoned and adequate explanation of its conclusion.

In the Indonesian A4 paper case, the ADC didn't even review whether a proper comparison was possible, let alone provide an explanation for its conclusion.

Implications for Indonesian A4 copy paper
The Indonesian Government has reported that Australia will not appeal the decision.  As a result, Australia now has a reasonable time to correct the dumping measures and bring them into line with the WTO Panel finding.  If Australia does not do this, Indonesia can impose retaliatory tariffs.

Implications for other dumping duties
Impact is wide
The impact of this decision will extend beyond Indonesian copy paper to all cases where the ADC has identified a particular market situation and used this finding, without further examination, to construct an inflated comparison value.  This is the case with Chinese steel and aluminium products.  Australia has for many years found that Chinese Government interference in the market for materials used for the manufacture steel and aluminium products constituted a particular market situation.  Australia has then disregarded actual Chinese domestic prices and calculated dumping margins by reference to various commodity indexes.

When doing this, the ADC has not investigated whether the low cost inputs impact Chinese domestic and export sales equally.  It may well be that the impact is equal as the competition in both markets may consist predominately of Chinese suppliers, all with access to the low cost input.  The more generic the product and the greater number of Chinese exporters, the greater the argument will be that the domestic and export prices remain comparable and dumping duties incorrectly imposed.

Existing measures
If Australia accepts the finding of the WTO Panel, and wishes to be a compliant WTO member, it should voluntarily review all past investigations that have used a constructed normal value and assess whether that approach was in accordance with WTO requirements.  This could result in the assessment of reduced dumping margins, or even the finding that there was no dumping.

China was a third party to the WTO proceeding and would be keenly aware of the outcome.  Australia will know that if China is so minded, it will have the ability to bring a successful WTO proceeding.  In this context, it is considered likely that China and Australia will reach a resolution regarding how Australia can bring its existing measures relating to Chinese exports in-line with WTO requirements.

Future reviews and investigations
Exporters and importers involved in future investigations need to fully understand the impact of this case and what is now required of the ADC.

Exporters faced with a finding of a particular market situation should, where appropriate, make a submission regarding the extent to which that situation impacts domestic sales and exports equally.  Doing this in a convincing manner could be the difference between an investigation being terminated with no duties, or the imposition of significant, supply chain ending, dumping duties. 

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Import Industry Advice Notice 204/2019

4 December 2019

Import Industry Advice Notice 204/2019

Updates to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride treatment rates

has been published on the Department of Agriculture website and can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/industry-advice/2019/204-2019

Import Industry Advice Notices are available from the Department of Agriculture website at: www.agriculture.gov.au/iian

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