PROMPTED by a request from SPC Ardmona for safeguard measures, the federal government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake two six-month safeguard inquiries into the impact of imports of processed fruit and tomatoes on Australian producers.
The inquiries will be undertaken in accordance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) safeguard investigation procedures.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and a group of Labor backbenchers in manufacturing seats are to write a new election policy to address the decline in manufacturing and food processing.
"We will be exploring policy issues further," NSW Labor MP Stephen Jones said, but declined to provide details.
Closures and proposed job cuts in the food-processing sector have also caused concern among MPs in regional areas.
Mr Rudd identified manufacturing and food processing among his key economic concerns in his leadership victory speech on Wednesday night, and in his first address to parliament on Thursday.
Specifically the Productivity Commission is to report on:
- whether conditions are such that safeguard measures would be justified under the WTO Agreement
- if so, what measures would be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury and to facilitate adjustment
- whether having regard to the government’s requirements for assessing the impact of regulation which affects business, those measures should be implemented.
- Fruit Safeguards
- Tomato Safeguards