Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WTO calls for dumping law

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Twenty-foot equivalent units are placed on a flatbed truck for shipment at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in July.

World Trade Organisation offic-ials have urged Cambodia to implement a trade remedy law to curb unfair competit-ion from foreign products.

Such a law would significantly protect the Kingdom from foreign exporters who undercut domestic prices – a tactic known as price dumping – World Trade Organisat-ion Rules Division counsell-or Müslüm Yilmaz said at a workshop on trade remedies in Phnom Penh yesterday.

“I think it’s important for a country like Cambodia to consider this to prevent the Kingdom’s industries suffering the injuries caused by dumping imposed by other countries,” Yilmaz said.

Cambodia would be able to monitor the effects of price dumping once a trade remedy law was in place, he said.

“Until the legislation is passed, it’s impossible for Cambodia to conduct an investig-ation and take measures.”

A number of countries in the region, such as Thailand, Mal-aysia and Indonesia, already had trade remedy laws, but it was not an obligation of WTO members, Yilmaz said.

Although the law was not a WTO requirement, it was essential for Cambodia to have it in place, Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Pan Sorasak said.

“We need to have this law to protect ourselves from these problems, which are likely to occur when the price of any goods varies dramatically.”

Pan Sorasak said the government planned to pass a single law including three main components: countervailing measures, dumping measures and safeguard measures.

“We plan to pass it as soon as possible, containing a vis-ion on anti-dumping that will allow us to take up countervailing measures later.

“Although we still have much work to do to complete the draft, we clearly understand the challenges.”

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce director-general Ngoun Meng Tech objected to the approval of the law, saying:  “In a free-market economy, the government cannot set up or ban the price of products.”

“If the government wants to prevent this kind of dumping, it should urge domestic producers to produce cheap,  quality products to compete with imported ones,” Ngoun Meng Tech said.

He added that when prices dropped people could afford certain products, but said the government was not interes-ted in consumers.

“It merely protects businessmen, not normal consumers who want quality products at a cheap price.”
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