The Anti-Dumping Commissioner has decided to enforce a nine percent tariff on imported tinned tomatoes, despite the Productivity Commission rejected an application for safeguards just weeks ago.
The Commissioner found that imported goods have cause material injury to local producers, and in a preliminary decision, have found in favour of the application by SPC Ardmona of alleged dumping of prepared tomato products exported to Australia from Italy.
SPCA has also applied to the Anti-Dumping Commission to look into alleged dumping of peaches.
The finding means that tariffs of around nine percent will be placed on 14 Italian processed tomato brands, effective immediately.
Managing director at SPC Ardmona, Peter Kelly, described the decision as a positive step forward for the brand and for Australian tomato growers.
"We have been challenging the unfair market resulting from tough economic conditions over the past five years," he said
"This [decision] has boosted our confidence in the Anti-Dumping Commission process and we’re looking forward to a favourable decision on our full submission."
The full anti-dumping report into tomatoes will be finalised in January 2014 at which time the Minister for Industry will determine the level of measures (tariffs) that may continue.
Paul Bastian, national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) also welcomed the decision as one made in the interest of local manufacturing and jobs.
"We have 1,500 people employed at SPCA in the Goulburn Valley with the whole operation supporting about 2,700 jobs when you add in growers, logistics and other knock-on services," he said
"The dumping of cheap tomatoes and fruit in this country from other nations has threatened SPCA’s ongoing viability and the AMWU has supported their efforts to get the government to act."
The decision comes just weeks after accelerated reports compiled by the Productivity Commission found that emergency safeguard measures against cheap imported processed fruit and tomato products are not warranted.
The Commission's full report on the application for safeguards is expected at the end of the year.
"This correct decision by the Anti-Dumping Commission brings into question what the Productivity Commission was doing in its interim decision when it found that while the industry was suffering serious injury it would not impose WTO sanctioned safeguards," Bastian said.
"This leaves in serious doubt whether the Productivity Commission is prepared to make decisions based on facts, on the real pressures and unfair trade practices confronting our industry and in the interest of our people or whether it is purely ideology that guides their deliberations."