Friday, September 16, 2016

The CBFCA met with Erin Dale, Commander Customs Compliance of the Australian Border Force (ABF), on Thursday 1 September to obtain clarification on asbestos issues. As background, in 2003 the Australian government imposed a zero tolerance of the sale, use and importation into Australia of asbestos. The policy for asbestos control is administered by the Department of Employment whilst the role of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is to monitor and enforce the ban on asbestos at the border.

The ABF's position is that when a licensed customs broker (LCB) answers No to the Community Protection question as to the goods containing asbestos, the LCB must be in possession of a  certificate from a NATA recognised testing authority or equivalent authorised testing authority.  Where the certificate is not available to the Licensed Customs Broker, the CP question should be answered as Yes. The certificate should form part of the Commercial Documents that you obtain from your client. Where the client/importer does not know if the goods are asbestos free, then the question must be answered Yes.

Should the entry be sent Redline, the failure to produce the required certificate will cause industry enormous problems. As without acceptable certification for each shipment, the goods will need to be tested in Australia for asbestos content with the associated delays and costs, from storage and the cost of testing.

The CBFCA have been working with NATA to locate a list of all the countries who have mutual recognition with NATA, but currently no list exists.  The current process for China as an example is to use the NATA website to locate the International approving association which is CNAS (similar to NATA for Australia) and then to locate a list of all testing facilities listed with CNAS.  Many counties such as the US, Canada and Indonesia still produce and use asbestos. To assist you with any dealings with CNAS, please click HERE.

The Importer will need to approach each of the facilities located within the overseas approving authority to see if they can conduct the testing to Australian standards of a zero tolerance.  Once it is established that the facility can perform the test, enquiries must be made with them as to their approval status compared to NATA standards or equivalent.

Clearly the above requirements are extremely difficult to apply and will directly affect imports that are currently in transit.  This issue is of primary government focus and will remain so for some time. 
We are working hard to get an acceptable outcome if one is available.

Although the CBFCA are working hard on your behalf to get this resolved, if members and their clients are feeling aggrieved with this issue, then you also have the option to contact either:
Hon. Peter Dutton MP – Minister for Immigration and Border Protection – Email
Hon. Michaelia Cash – Minister for Employment – Email

Please click HERE to view the DIBP Asbestos information page for general information.

Thanks and Kind Regards

Dave Simmons

General Manager
International Logistics Consultant

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