AN application from US chemical giant Monsanto could see an anti-dumping duty of 167pc slapped on glyphosate imported from the People's Republic of China, with local importers only being given until July 23, 2001 to make submissions to the Australian Customs Service to stop the action.
WA companies named in the application who are "thought to be importing" cheap glyphosate from China are Artfern Pty Ltd, Davison Industries and 4Farmers with one of the companies taking out the complaint, Nufarm Ltd, also being listed as one of the importers.
Davison Industries general manager Colin Major said his company was a "supporter of free trade and an opponent of dumping," but could not comment on whether the Chinese were dumping glyphosate because "Davison Industries have not imported any of their product from China".
WA Farmers' Federation general president Colin Nicholl branded the application a "continuance of corporate greed," adding that he did not believe that the product was being dumped.
"The last thing we need is increased input costs" was PGA President Barry Court's initial response, adding that "Australia supports free trade and that's a two way street, particularly with a major customer like China."
4Farmers managing director John Firth was bemused at the application, stating that his company ran a cost-plus operation, yet had been consistently undercut by $1/litre by companies including Artfern, Davison, Monsanto and Nufarm.
He said that it was a commonly held view that not all importers paid the five percent tariff designed to protect the Australian manufacturer, including one company that was believed to import 4000 tonnes, but to declare only 400 tonnes of it.
"Getting rid of a few cowboys would help all concerned" he stated, "but applying a tariff to all imported Chinese glyphosate will not create an open, competitive industry."
The notice from the Customs Service was advertised in the Australian Financial Review on June 12 2001 and alleges that "the goods have been exported to Australia at prices less than normal value."
A product is deemed to be dumped if it is exported at a price that is below the normal domestic price applying in the country of export, but the Customs notice also states that "it is not appropriate to determine a normal value based on Chinese domestic selling prices."
With most of the 2001 supplies of glyphosate having already been imported, figures show that imports from China have dropped 11% since 2000, while imports from the US have risen 14pc in the same time.
The spokesman from Monsanto Australia was on his way to New Zealand when the Farm Weekly contacted his office, and he was not able to comment.