A Centennial of Anti-Dumping Legislation and Implementation: Introduction and Overview
8 Pages Posted: 21 May 2005
A century has passed since the Government of Canada adopted the first recorded anti-dumping law in 1904. The Canadian legislation was soon followed by similar legislation in most of the major trading nations in the industrialised world prior to and after World War I. Anti-dumping provisions were later incorporated into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) following World War II. Nowadays, virtually all of the industrialised and developing countries in the world economy have adopted anti-dumping legislation. In view of the long and increasingly widespread use of anti-dumping measures, we marked the centennial of Canada's 1904 legislation with a symposium at the University of Michigan on 12 March, 2004. The symposium papers document the experiences with anti-dumping and then ask whether and how anti-dumping can be reformed. Although we all would probably agree that the best solution would be to retract all anti-dumping legislation, this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Anti-dumping laws serve a variety of purposes, and powerful political forces stand in the way of eliminating these laws. Anti-dumping provides a stronger and more focused means of safeguards protection against surges of imports than GATT-legal safeguards laws permit. Anti-dumping also formalises a meaning for 'unfair trade' that, though essentially meaningless from an economic standpoint, strikes a chord in public perception. And finally, in spite of its appearance of being constrained by objective administrative rules, anti-dumping in practice is a potent political tool that governments are able to manipulate in order to satisfy powerful constituents. With all this going for it, anti-dumping is unlikely ever to be relinquished as an economic policy tool by governments.
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