The Australian Customs Service is examining ways to automatically adjust anti-dumping duties on PVC imports because its current 100-day review system cannot keep up with fluctuating vinyl chloride monomer prices. On Aug. 28, the Canberra-based Australian Customs Service increased duties on PVC imports from North America, Brazil, China, France, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, following a 100-day review.
The review followed a request from Australia's only PVC manufacturers, Sydney-based ICI Australia Ltd. and Melbourne-based Auseon Ltd.
The manufacturers said the price of imported VCM had increased significantly, so duties imposed on PVC imports needed to increase because on-shore production costs also had increased.
But on Aug. 31, Melbourne-based BP Chemicals ANZ Pty. Ltd. told the Australian Customs Service, in another request for a review, that there had been a significant decrease in VCM prices since the review announced on Aug. 28 and the duties imposed were now ``dramatically out of date.''
John Gee, financial controller for BP Chemicals, said the price decrease had rendered the duties ``totally irrelevant'' and disadvantaged Australian manufacturers that use PVC by denying them access to world prices.
BP Chemicals has requested a review of duties on exports from Brazil only.
However, Lionel Woodward, ACS chief executive officer, said there has been a substantial decrease in world VCM prices and it is appropriate for the ACS to review duties imposed on exports from all 10 countries named in the original review.
The cyclical nature of world VCM prices creates the potential for ASC anti-dumping duty reviews on PVC imports to occur continuously, according to Woodward.
Anne Robbie, assistant director, ACS dumping operations, said that a new system is being considered for PVC imports only because other plastic resins do not have similar price fluctuations.
However, she said interested parties are welcome to submit ideas for a new review method. If a viable system is found, it could be implemented for other plastic imports, according to Robbie.
One option is to link anti-dumping duties to a world VCM price reference, which would allow for periodical adjustment without a full review.
Results of the current review of PVC imports from Brazil will be released on Jan. 13.
Exporters in North America and Brazil should forward ideas for a new system, or submissions for the current review, to the Senior Australian Customs Representative, Australian Embassy, 1601 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, by Nov. 14.