• John Luxton

New Zealand's trade remedy policy is to be reviewed, Minister of Commerce, John Luxton, announced today. A Discussion Paper is being released as a basis for consultation with interested parties.

We need to make sure that anti-dumping and countervailing duties, and safeguard actions, are effective in dealing with anti-competitive distortions to international trade, said the Minister, and are properly directed at encouraging New Zealand industry to be competitive.

The Coalition Government has agreed that trade remedy action against imported goods should take account of national interest criteria, said Mr Luxton, and the review will consider when and how a public interest test should be applied. In addition, the review will look at other aspects of trade remedy administration.'

Trade remedies are measures taken against imports which are injuring specific industries. Trade remedies take the form of anti-dumping and countervailing duties and safeguard action.

New Zealand's trade remedy legislation was reviewed and amended in 1994 to ensure that it is consistent with new or revised international obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement resulting from the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. However, that review did not address more fundamental issues relating to the effectiveness of the legislation in the context of broader economic and trade policies.

Officials of the Ministry of Commerce, The Treasury and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were asked to draft a Discussion Paper which set out economic issues relating to the principles and processes of trade remedies in New Zealand. The Discussion Paper is now released for public debate as part of the completion of the review process which began in 1994.

Initial submissions should be made by 27 April 1998, and there will be opportunities for interested groups to meet officials to discuss the issues. The deadline for reporting back to Ministers is 30 June 1998.

It is important that trade remedy mechanisms are not seen as a replacement for general forms of protection,' said Mr Luxton, Rather, trade remedies deal with specific problems that arise in international trade. To ensure this distinction is maintained, trade remedies are being reviewed separately from the 1998 Tariff Review.

Trade remedy legislation in New Zealand is administered by the Trade Remedies Group of the Ministry of Commerce, which carries out dumping and subsidy investigations and services Temporary Safeguard Authorities.

Written submissions should be addressed to:

Trade Remedies Policy Review
Trade Remedies Group
Ministry of Commerce
PO Box 1473

Conor English, Press Secretary,
(04) 475 9707 or (04) 475 7203 (h)
Hugh McPhail, Manager, Trade Remedies,
(04) 474 2991 or (04) 384 9644 (h)
Martin Garcia, Senior Investigator, Trade Remedies,
(04) 470 2183