Posts Tagged ‘Robert Eastment’

  • Mystery paper dumping hides behind 100-year law

    A Special Report from Industry Edge lifts the lid on how importers conceal the origin, production costs and environmental credentials of office paper brought into Australia.

    Paper Cuts – Critical Analysis of Copy Paper Imports into Australia shows how office paper (white A4 cut reams) may be dumped into the Australian market at prices below the cost of production. This undermines local production from Australian Paper and encourages unsustainable paper making practices.
    Importers use a century old trade law originally designed to protect local industry in order to mask the country of origin of hundreds of tonnes of office paper imports. Since September 2010 the provisions of the Census & Statistics Act 1905, have been used by unidentified importers to hide the country of origin of white cut office paper. According to the Special Report there is little doubt that the vast majority of the controversial imports have come from Indonesia.
    The use of the provisions directly followed a furore concerning the environmental practices of Indonesian paper mills. This caused major importers to declare they would no longer buy Indonesian paper. Trade figures show the declared tonnage of paper from Indonesian immediately dropped while the amount of office paper that entered Australia under the no country declared provision soared. The practice continued for at least 18 months and in nearly all cases the NCD paper was brought in at the lowest prices, raising suspicions it was being dumped.
    The authors make the point that Australia operates as one of the most open markets in the world. The use of such tactics not only hides the origin of paper imports but also frustrates the local producer, Australian Paper, from finding out if the practice violates trade law.
    “This Special Report into the import trade, in specific office papers, shows that allowing importers to hide the country of origin of the imports works against full, fair and free trade,” said Robert Eastment, Director of IndustryEdge (pictured).
    “Forensic trade analysis demonstrates that imports of office papers that most likely came from Indonesia were at ever cheaper prices as the volumes increased. The fact that the country of origin was hidden raises suspicions about possible trade manipulations and has made this trade quite controversial,” said Eastment.
    According to the Special Report, allowing importers to request their import data be masked makes trade scrutiny and transfer of information difficult. In some cases, concerns about dumping and the operation of inappropriate government subsidies that would breach World Trade Organisation standards cannot be pursued because of a lack of transparency.
    In the particular case of office papers from Indonesia, it is possible the masking of increased import volumes from Indonesia has been intended to avoid scrutiny of Indonesian supply, which is the subject of aggressive campaigns by environmental non-government organisations and is highly contentious in its own right.
    “We know the Australian Government is engaged in an ongoing review, with the International Trade Remedies Forum, of Australia’s international trade rules. This Special Report into selected office papers provides some of the evidence needed for a significant legal change to ensure that all imports are recorded for country of origin,” said Eastment.
    The Special Report is being released to coincide with the opening of the annual conference of the Australasian Pulp & Paper Industry Technical Association (Appita) in Melbourne. IndustryEdge Director and co-author of the Special Report, Tim Woods, will address the conference’s high level leadership sessions.
    The Special Report can be downloaded without charge from