Real cost of tariffs aids case for cuts,25197,23481620-2702,00.html

April 04, 2008

NEW evidence that tariffs cost Australians $9.1 billion a year while providing a net benefit to industry of just $1.4 billion will provide a powerful boost to Treasury arguments to wind back protection.

The future of tariffs is dividing the Government, with Industry Minister Kim Carr's push for continued support for manufacturers meeting resistance from Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.

The Treasurer backs his department's view that tariffs impose a heavy cost on the economy. But Senator Carr believes tariff protection has an important continuing role, and has bypassed the Productivity Commission in setting up reviews for the motor vehicle and textile industries, as well as support for research and development.