Asbestos – not just in car parts

In a post on June 7, 2016 I alerted readers to a case where imported, counterfeit, car parts were found to contain asbestos. Asbestos is, under Australian law, a strictly prohibited import and export and requires special permission from the Australian Government for anyone wishing to deal in this deadly product.

When processing import declarations on behalf of importers, Customs brokers are required to answer a series of community protection questions designed to filter out items that might contain asbestos. The Australian Border Force (“ABF”) have expanded the range of tariff classifications (HS codes) to which questions relating to asbestos content are linked. In recent discussions between the ABF and the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (“CBFCA”), the ABF re-iterated their position when it comes to asbestos.

In a nutshell, the OWNER of the goods must be CERTAIN that the goods do not contain ANY asbestos – there must be ZERO asbestos content. How can an owner be certain? By having the goods tested by a testing authority recognised by the National Association of Testing Authorities (“NATA”) in Australia (for goods intended for export) or by a testing authority recognised by an overseas body of similar standing to NATA. Further information about testing authorities can be found on the NATA website.

There is also a wealth of information on the ABF website here, which includes a list of those items considered high risk of containing asbestos.

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Free Trade Agreements – Update

The Korea – Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) entered into force on 12 December, 2014.

Further information can be found on the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service website here.

The Australian Government has announced that the Japan – Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) will enter into force on 15 January, 2015.

Further information can be found on the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service website here.

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Documents Required by Australian Customs & Border Protection Service – Update 1

Further to the article on this subject that I published on 20th November, 2013, ACBPS has released a Fact Sheet titled “Verification of import transactions using commercial documents” that provides further information to ACBPS Notice 2013/46.

If you have any questions regarding the guidance provided in the Fact Sheet or ACBPS Notice 2013/46, please Contact Us to discuss.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 3

In Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 2 published on 25th November, 2013, I reported the legislation to implement the planned increases to the Customs IPC would be tabled in Parliament with an expected implementation date of 1st January, 2014.

On Friday, 13 December, 2013, advice was received that the Import Processing Charges Amendment Bill 2013 passed through both Houses unaltered. The new charges will come into effect on 1st January, 2014.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (“ACBPS”) on 1st December, 2013, issued ACBPS Notice 2013/63 which clarifies the scale of charges, and the following is an extract from that Notice:

“The charging arrangements that will apply from 1 January 2014 … are as follows:
– for all consignments valued at more than $1,000.00 but less than $10,000.00, the current rates of import processing charges will continue to apply;
– for sea consignments lodged electronically with a value of $10,000.00 or more, the import processing charge will increase from $50.00 to $152.60;
– for sea consignments lodged manually with a value of $10,000.00 or more, the import processing charge will increase from $65.75 to $152.60;
– for air and post consignments lodged electronically with a value of $10,000.00 or more, the import processing charge will increase from $40.20 to $122.10;
– for air and post consignments lodged manually with a value of $10,000.00 or more, the import processing charge will increase from $48.85 to $122.10.

There will continue to be no import processing charge for consignments valued at $1,000.00 or less.”

As this ACBPS Notice was issued prior to the legislation passing through Parliament, it is expected ACBPS will shortly issue further information to advise industry and importers of any special transitional arrangements to apply to import declarations that will likely be submitted towards the end of December, 2013, for shipments arriving early January, 2014.

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Customs Information for Australians Travelling Overseas This Holiday Season

Customs have released their annual warning for Australians heading overseas during the 2013/2014 Christmas/New Year holiday season.

The Media Release advises all Australian residents to “Know Before You Go” and is provided as an advisory about what items are prohibited imports so that travellers can check before they leave Australia.

Customs have published a brochure under the title Know Before You Go. The brochure is a DL sized document extending to 32 pages of advice and information. UPDATE: The information is now available online and can be found here on the Australian Border Force website

The text of the Media Release is repeated hereunder for ease of reference by our readers:

Customs and Border Protection is reminding holiday-goers to learn the do’s and don’ts before travelling overseas during the Christmas and holiday period.

During 2012/13, Customs and Border Protection officers seized a range of prohibited goods in airports across Australia including:
•performance and image enhancing drugs;
• dangerous weapons such as firearms and knives; and
• goods that are legal in some countries, but prohibited in Australia, such as electric shock devices, knuckle dusters and BB guns.

“People may think that items such as laser pointers, flick knives, and shock devices make inexpensive novelty gifts, but they could end up costing you more than you bargained for,” Regional Director NSW, Tim Fitzgerald, said.

“While these goods may be legal in some countries, they are restricted to import under Australian law. If we catch you trying to bring goods into the country illegally, you could be charged or face serious fines.”

The easiest way for travellers to check what can and can’t be brought back into Australia, is to go online to customs.gov.au and read the ‘Know Before You Go’ brochure.

The ‘Know Before You Go’ brochure is a guide for anyone planning to travel internationally over the summer, and covers:
• what goods are prohibited to bring back into Australia;
• how to declare;
• travelling with medication;
• duty and tax; and
• the Tourist Refund Scheme.

“So that your gifts make it home for Christmas, and to avoid unnecessary penalties, don’t waste your money – know the rules before you go overseas,” Officer Fitzgerald said.

Enquiries should be directed to the Customs Information Support Centre on 1300 363 263 or information@customs.gov.au

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Customs Media Release – High School Students Beware!

In a Media Release issued today, 25th November, 2013, the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service (“ACBPS”) issued a warning to high school students, their parents and teachers, and the community in general, to beware of accepting parcels on behalf of other people whom they don’t know or are only very casually acquainted with.

ACBPS have discovered instances of students allegedly being offered a few hundred dollars to accept a package, on behalf of another person, sent from overseas through the post and then pass the package on to the person(s) responsible for the importation.

The scheme came to light when ACBPS officers were executing search warrants on a number of premises in N.S.W. with the assistance of N.S.W. Police.

The recruiting of the “mules” may have come about through social media channels, and it is alleged the people behind the scheme may have allayed any fears the students had about doing something illegal by telling them they were under adult age so they couldn’t be charged with drug importation offences. This is not correct and the ramifications for young people caught up in such schemes are far-reaching. If they are charged and convicted, they face fines of up to AUD 850,000.00 and 25 years imprisonment. Even if not imprisoned they will still carry a criminal record and this can affect future job prospects and overseas travel (many countries will not issue entry visas to people with a criminal record).

The principals of the schools attended by the 2 students so far identified have been advised of the situation by ACBPS and Police so they can alert other students not to fall for the same scam.

It is hoped that by putting this article on our web page, more people will be aware of it and so they can warn their children, friends, family, their children’s school principals of the danger.

UPDATE: ABC News Coverage

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Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 2

In an article published on 22nd November, 2013, I reported the legislation to implement the planned increase to the Customs IPC did not pass through Parliament before the Federal election in 2013 and the measures must now be reconsidered by the current Government.

As predicted in that previous article, the legislation will be tabled, unaltered, by the current Government with a planned implementation date of 1st January, 2014.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Customs Import Processing Charges – Update 1

In a previous article I reported the intention of the Federal Government to increase the Customs Import Processing Charge (“IPC”) effective from 1 January, 2014.

However, the legislation to implement this increase did not pass through Parliament before the Federal election in 2013. The measures must now be reconsidered by the current Government.

It’s probably fairly safe to say that, due to the budget deficit issues facing the current Government, the measures can be expected to go ahead as planned. Whether or not the legislation will be able to be tabled and passed in time for implementation of the new charges on 1 January, 2014, remains to be seen.

This one remains a watching brief.

© Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Documents Required by Australian Customs & Border Protection Service

The Australian Customs & Border Protection Service (“ACBPS”) has provided guidance for cargo reporters, suppliers, importers and exporters, and their licensed customs brokers or other agents about acceptable standards of commercial documentation and evidence of money price paid (“EMPP”). These documents are required to support statements made in declarations to the ACBPS.

Further details are provided in ACBPS Notice 2013/46. The Notice includes an attachment listing the types of documentary evidence required.

If you have any questions regarding the guidance provided in ACBPS Notice 2013/46, please Contact Us to discuss.

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Welcome!

Are you importing to, or exporting from, Australia?  Are you thinking about importing or exporting and looking for advice about the procedures and costs? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Our services cover a wide range of import and export related activities (such as customs and quarantine clearances, ocean or air freight, local transport, permit or licence applications, etc.) and we can provide assistance at or up to any point, from the start during your initial planning stages all the way through to final delivery of the goods on arrival. No matter whether your import or export is big or small, Lighthouse Agencies Pty Ltd is here to help.

Information and articles on this site are now in the form of blog posts which enable readers to post comments (for security purposes and to prevent spammers, you will need to register and be approved before you can post). Current articles can be selected by clicking on an underlined date in the calendar on the right.  All the articles that were in the previous website archives have been brought across. To view them, simply scroll down this page and either use the search box, or flick back through the calendar, or select from the list of “Recent Posts”, or select from the dropdown box under “Archives”. If you experience any difficulties with posting a comment, or with any other facet of our website, please Contact Us.

There are a variety of links to web sites related to our area of commerce, under Business Links. This list is by no means comprehensive – our aim is to incorporate links to the main sites that our clients and other visitors to this site might find helpful. We are happy to consider linking requests from service providers and suppliers of information services to the Customs and freight forwarding industries. Please contact the Webmaster (go to our Contact Us page for details) for further information.

The link Resources & Documents will take you to a page where there are documents or other resources our clients may find useful, such as sample Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (“DAWR”) Biosecurity packaging declarations.

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