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Russia rebuffs anti-dumping commission

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
By Graham Osborne

The Russian Federation is refusing to cooperate with a federal government Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) investigation into the alleged dumping of cheap A4 copy paper on the Australian market. Finland has also dismissed the allegations as “questionable.”

The ADC is investigating claims by Australian Paper – Australia’s only office paper manufacturer – that five countries including Russia, South Korea, Austria, Finland and the Slovak Republic are exporting copy paper to Australia that is being sold at prices cheaper than its popular Reflex brand.

I will rely on all other information available’: ADC Commissioner Dale Seymour

In a preliminary report, the ADC said “there appear to be reasonable grounds to support the claims that the Australian industry has experienced loss of revenue and reduced profitability.”

The claims have been dismissed by the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Canberra, which has refused to cooperate with the investigation and has rejected an ADC request to complete an “exporter questionnaire.”

In a submission to the ADC, Alexander Kuznetsov, acting trade representative of the Russian Federation in Australia, said: “We would like to remind that according to Article 5.8 of the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement, the volume of dumped imports shall normally be regarded as negligible if the volume of dumped imports from a particular country is found to account for less than 3 per cent of imports of the like product…the import volumes of the goods from the Russian Federation in 2017 were about 0.94 percent of all imports of the goods into Australia in 2017.

“We urge the Commission to promptly terminate the investigation in respect of the Russian goods if the import volume from the Russian Federation is found to account for less than 3 percent of all imports into Australia during the investigation period.”

ADC Commissioner Dale Seymour has warned Russia it will be considered “an uncooperative exporter” if it continues to refuse to provide details of its paper exports into Australia.

“I have determined that if Russia has not provided a response within the legislated period; and has not requested a longer period to provide a response…Russia will be considered an uncooperative exporter for the purposes of this investigation and I will rely on all other information available in making recommendations and findings.”

Finland said it was concerned about “possible intentional claims to the authorities initiated by the companies acting on this market to create excessive administrative barriers for new potential competitors.

‘Insignificant supply volumes’: Teija Kalinainen, International Paper, Finland.

“Please note that collecting the information in scope requested by the Anti-Dumping Commission entails significant volume of resources to be spent,” said Teija Kalinainen, finance controller at International Paper Nordic Sales in Finland. “These [sic] spending may appear to be highly disproportional to [redacted] turnover of the product the Company sold in Australia in year 2017…the real dumping effect the Company’s product pricing could make in Australia with such insignificant supply volumes, is questionable.”

Last week, Melbourne-based Central National Australia also denied dumping cheap A4 paper onto the local market by importing Fuji Xerox Professional Paper from the Hankuk Paper company in South Korea.

The ADC is investigating exports to Australia in 2017 to look for evidence of dumping and also intends to examine the Australian market from January 2014 for “injury analysis purposes” to see whether the dumped goods provide a basis for a dumping duty to apply retrospectively.

Australian Paper – owned by global giant Nippon Paper Group – is one of the largest employers in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

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