The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recently initiated two trade remedy investigations to determine whether the anti-dumping duties levied on imports of preserved peaches from South Africa and China should remain in place. A third investigation regarding imports of preserved peaches from Spain is ongoing.
Heinz Wattie's Limited (HWL) initiated these investigations and would like the duties to stay. This is unsurprising as the duties enable HWL to charge higher prices for their preserved peaches on the domestic market. The Governments of China, South Africa and Spain, along with their respective manufacturers and traders, and New Zealand-based importers of preserved peaches, would like to see these longstanding duties abolished.
The New Zealand Government will need to handle these investigations carefully. This is especially as they follow hot on the heels of two High Court judgments and one High Court Order (all issued within the past 10 months) that quash Ministerial decisions relating to trade remedy investigations and order MBIE to reconsider the related investigations anew:
- The first High Court case concerned imports of preserved peaches from Spain1. In its judgement, the Court held that MBIE's investigation breached obligations of natural justice owed to HWL (the Complainant).
- The second High Court case concerned imports of galvanised steel coil from China2. In that case, the Court held that the Minister's decision was unlawful, as it relied on MBIE advice that contained material errors as to:
- the proper test for determining whether an entity is a public body;
- the grounds on which overseas regulators made their findings in related cases; and
- the relevance of those overseas findings for MBIE investigations.
- The High Court Order concerns imports of preserved peaches from China, and its details remain confidential to the Parties.
The investigations reconsidering all three of the cases discussed above are ongoing. In our view, the Government will be anxious to ensure that they progress without the undue attention, inconvenience and expense of further judicial involvement.
Parties interested in making submissions in relation to MBIE's Sunset Review of Anti-dumping Duties on Canned Peaches from South Africa and its Reconsideration of Anti-Dumping Duties on Preserved Peaches from China should contact [email protected]. Submissions are due by late June/early July 2019.
Russell McVeagh's International Trade Practice is able to assist manufacturers, traders, retailers and foreign governments throughout all stages of New Zealand Government trade remedy investigations. We have represented clients in MBIE investigations concerning imports of stationery, diaries, canned peaches and various steel products, and an Australian Government investigation concerning imports of wind towers. Sarah Salmond, Russell McVeagh's Head of International Trade, has also represented clients in European Commission investigations concerning imports of compact fluorescent lamps, frozen strawberries, modems and polyethylene terephthalate plastic.
For further information, please contact:
Head of International Trade
D +64 9 367 8864
This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.