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CUSTOMS (THAILAND-AUSTRALIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2008 (NO. 1) (SLI NO 227 OF 2008)
Select Legislative Instrument 2008 No. 227
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Home Affairs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement) Amendment Regulations 2008 (No. 1)
Subsection 270(1) of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides, in part, that the Governor‑General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters which by the Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed, for giving effect to the Act.
The purpose of the amending Regulations is to amend the Customs (Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement) Regulations 2004 (the Principal Regulations) to incorporate amendments to the product-specific rules of origin contained in Annex 4.1 to the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (the Agreement). The amendments arise from changes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, commonly referred to as the Harmonized System (HS), that took effect on 1 January 2007.
The Agreement, which was signed on 5 July 2004 and came into force on 1 January 2005, provides Thailand and Australia with more liberal access to each other's goods, services and investments markets. The Act and the Principal Regulations fulfil Australia's obligations under Chapter 4 and Annex 4.1 of the Agreement, which deals with rules of origin. These rules determine whether goods imported into Australia are Thai originating goods and are thereby eligible for preferential rates of customs duty. Annex 4.1 of the Agreement sets out the product-specific requirements for goods according to the tariff classification of the goods under the HS. Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations incorporates the product specific requirements set out in Annex 4.1 of the Agreement.
The HS has been adopted by signatories to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (the Convention), including Australia and Thailand, as the classification system for traded goods. All goods are classified under the HS with a 6-figure classification and these same classifications are used in product-specific requirements set out in Annex 4.1 to the Agreement.
The HS is subject to cyclic review, approximately every five years, and the most recent review resulted in several hundred changes to the 6-figure classifications. These changes took effect on 1 January 2007 (HS 2007 changes). Signatories to the Convention are required to implement these changes. In this regard, Australia and Thailand have agreed to amend Annex 4.1 to the Agreement to incorporate the HS 2007 changes into the product-specific requirements. While the HS 2007 changes commenced on 1 January 2007, the changes to Annex 4.1 have not been able to be progressed until recently due to the political situation in Thailand.
The amending Regulations amend Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations to reflect amendments to Annex 4.1 which have resulted from the HS 2007 changes.
No consultation was undertaken specifically in relation to the amendments as they implement Australia's international obligations under the Agreement.
The amending Regulations commence on the day on which the amendments of Annex 4.1 to the Agreement, as tabled in the House of Representative on 26 August 2008, come into force for Australia. The Minister for Home Affairs will announce by notice in the Gazette the day on which the amendments of Annex 4.1 to the Agreement come into force for Australia.