A FARM chemical importer has expressed concern about the Australian Anti Dumping Commission’s decision to impose a anti-dumping duty on dichlorophenoxy-acetic acid, commonly known as 2,4-D and a key component in a range of herbicides.
Neil Mortimore, general manager of WA-based 4Farmers, said duties of up to 35 per cent could apply to 2,4-D imports from China after the ADC decided to uphold an application made by Nufarm, which manufacturers 2,4-D in Australia to impose anti-dumping measures.
The measures caught 4Farmers by surprise.
“The first we knew of it was when we were asked to pay the duty upon bringing some product in,” Mr Mortimore said.
He said the move would add cost to product coming from China, whether as an active ingredient or as a formulated herbicide.
“I think farmers will be wearing extra costs just to protect Nufarm’s profits,” he said.
Mr Mortimore said he was unsure on what data the decision had been based on.
“It does not seem there is much difference in price between what you get out of China and other sources such as India, so I am not sure you could call it dumping.”
However, Nufarm Austalia New Zealand regional general manager Peter O’Keeffe said he felt the decision would protect Australia from dumped 2,4-D.
He said Nufarm had made its application following analysis of import data indicating that Chinese exporters had continued to dump 2,4-D product on the Australian market.
Mr O’Keeffe said the ADC had conducted its own work which also found Chinese manufacturers had been dumping 2,4-D into Australia at a significant margin.
“Nufarm firmly believes that dumping is unsustainable, and in the medium to long term would impact farmers through increased costs and reduced reliability of supply,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
He said it was critical the local industry was protected from dumped product.
“History has demonstrated across a range of industries that if local manufacturing does not survive because competing products are imported and sold at ‘dumped’ prices then ultimately prices rise and consumers suffer in the long run.”
Mr O’Keeffe played down fears of a price rise in 2,4-D products at a retail level.
“Australian growers have the choice of 2,4-D product originating from more than 20 countries including Europe, India, China and USA, with China the only country subject to these measures.”
Andrew Weidemann, Grain Producers Australia chairman, said he did not know the details of the move but said farmers would be impacted by extra costs.
“There is a wide mix of 2,4-D based products that are used and a large proportion of these are generic brands, we’ll be seeking more information on the matter,” he said.
Mr Mortimore said his organisation would continue to work on the issue.
“We will continue to try and fight this decision.”
He said the timing was favourable for growers, given that much of the appetite for 2,4-D is as a summer spray.
“Sales of 2,4-D from now on aren’t as high for a little bit so hopefully we can get a chance to work through things further.”