The outgoing CEO of the Australian Industry Group said cheap Chinese aluminium had contributed to production cuts and job losses at the Kurri Kurri smelter.
Heather Ridout, who leaves the organisation at the end of April to take up a post with the board of the Reserve Bank, addressed Hunter Valley business leaders in Newcastle, Australia.
She said Australia should be complaining more to the World Trade Organisation.
"The Americans seem to have a very well trod path to the WTO," she said.
"In fact they've won a few cases, the Brazilians I think have taken about a hundred this year most of them against China. We're pussycats, we have the most open economy in the western world and yet we don't stick up for ourselves.
"That's one of the long arguments I've had with Canberra. I haven't won it, I feel very very despondent that I'm leaving this job and I haven't won that argument."
Source ABC Newcastle, Australia, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-30/ridout-regret-over-failure-to-stop-cheap-imports/3922378/?site=newcastle
Source Cast CRC http://www.cast.comdispatch.com.au/index.php?story=3313