In 2007, Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan expressed concern about ‘price pressures’ facing ‘ordinary Australians’. When elected, they established the ill-fated FuelWatch and Grocery Watch schemes (including a Petrol Commissioner at the ACCC). While these schemes were a joke, at least Rudd and Swan expressed concern (and seemed concerned) about the high prices that consumers faced in Australia.
Now Kevin Rudd Mark II has established the Anti-Dumping Commission which commenced operations on 1 July 2013. We don’t know yet who will be appointed as the new Anti-Dumping Commissioner.
In other words, Rudd Mark II and his Labor Party want Australian consumers to pay more.
The Productivity Commission has published a brief history of Australia’s anti-dumping policy. In short, Australia was the world number one user of anti-dumping actions for many years in the 1980s. The Howard Government finally abolished the Anti-Dumping Authority in 1998, with Customs becoming responsible for handling the remaining anti-dumping cases.
Catallaxians know well that a Government agency will always find work. So the new Anti-Dumping Commission can be expected to find cases of dumping and act to show that it is helping Australian manufacturers hurt by the so-called dumping. We can thus expect a rapid increase in anti-dumping cases.
We also know that anti-dumping is just a cute way of providing protection to some Australian manufacturers who don’t like to face foreign competition. Anti-dumping is harmful to the Australian consumer, weakens competitive pressures and reduces productivity growth. Ultimately anti-dumping harms living standards.
Kevin Rudd wants Australia to be a manufacturing country. His model is North Korea, for autarky is the best way to ensure dominance by domestic manufacturers.
(Note: The Australian Customs Service has published further information on the new Anti-Dumping Commission).