Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dear Valued Client,

As always, there are a number of current importing issues that may impact your business. Please  see a brief summary below, and if you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact dave.simmons@lochm.com.au.

Reducing duty rates
From the 1st January 2015, goods that currently pay 10% duty such as clothing, bed linen and curtains, will reduce to a duty rate of 5%. The duty rate payable will be whichever occurs last out of:

1.The goods arriving in Australia.
2.The import declaration (entry) being created.  

It will be important to schedule your imports to take advantage of the reduction in duty.

Customs Infringement Notice Scheme
The Infringement Notice Scheme was introduced earlier this year to enforce accuracy in import declarations to Customs. The system allows for substantial fines where import declarations are subsequently found to be incorrect, so it is imperative that the information provided to Loch M Fraser is correct.
Areas which Customs will look at, include:

- Whether the shipper is "related" to the importer, and if the relationship somehow influences the price.
- Tariff Classification and concession eligibility.
- Commisions, production assists, and royalties.
- Goods supplied "Free of charge". 
New laws to combat illegal logging
If your company imports timber, or products made of solid timber, AQIS have announced that new laws have been passed to help combat illegal logging. From 30th November 2014, all importers of timber/timber products will be required by law, to carry out "due diligence" prior to importation. Put simply, due diligence requires an importer to gather information,
assess the risk that the timber product they are importing may have been illegally logged and, if the risk is not low, undertake reasonable steps to mitigate any risk. These requirements have been designed to be as flexible as possible and not too onerous. Importers may be able to use existing commercial practices to meet their responsibilities.

Free Trade Agreements
In line with Government policy, the number of Free Trade Agreements is increasing regularly. The latest FTA to be announced is the Korean FTA which should be commencing as of 1st December 2014. At this stage the China FTA is still under negotiation. 

Just a reminder that:
1.Packing Declarations are still required for all FCL/FCX/LCL  shipments.
2.If you are importing goods that contain any products of animal or plant origin, they will be subject to Quarantine clearance. Always check with us in advance so that we can investigate the clearance process, and to avoid costly treatments and delays.
3.If possible, always send goods subject to Quarantine separately. 

Customs Trusted Trader Program
After shelving the program a few years ago, Customs have decided to reconsider a Trusted Trader program. Discussions are still at a very early stage, however this program would look to give priority release to Brokers/Importers with a proven track record of compliance. Some of the possible benefits include fewer Border holds, and deferred Customs duty payments. Further information will follow when available. 

Kind regards,

Dave Simmons


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