For the first time in Australia a union will be lodging a complaint with the federal government’s Anti-Dumping Commission. The Australian Workers Union (AWU) is launching legal action against the cheap Chinese steel that has been flooding the Australian market in recent years and lead to local steel manufacturing reaching the brink of collapse. The AWU is representing its members within the Australian steel industry and reports that in the past 12-18 months alone $200 million in work has been lost. The AWU seeks to have the Anti-Dumping Commission impose significant duties on Chinese steel products entering the Australian market in the hope of sending a clear message to China that it is unacceptable.
It is unacceptable for China to flood the international market with 100 million tonnes of steel subsidised by the Chinese government at prices below the cost of production. The AWU states this Chinese practice is calculated to destroy foreign domestic steel industries in order for China to dominate the world steel market, who’s steel mills account for 51% of steel production worldwide. The USA and EU have already acted to minimise the damage caused by Chinese actions however the Australian government has done little to protect its own industries that have been under severe pressure for several years already.
China has been manipulating the steel market to gain an unfair advantage endangering national economic competitiveness and the livelihoods of Australian people. The AWU explained that by granting China market economy status in 2004 as part of negotiations for a free-trade agreement; Australia became severely handicapped in its ability to prevent the spike in Chinese imports flooding local industry.
China has tried to circumvent anti-dumping penalties imposed by the USA and EU by rerouting steel through Vietnam. The AWU says that Australia should revoke China’s market economy status and develop an agile anti-dumping scheme to protect the Australian steel industry as well as any other industries that may become vulnerable in the future.