Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the authority of the Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905

Commerce (Imports) Regulations (Amendment)

Section 17 of the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905 (the Act) provides in part that the Governor-General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters or things required or permitted by the Act or which are necessary and convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

Subsection 7(1) of the Act provides that the regulations may prohibit the importation or introduction into Australia of any goods unless there is applied to them a trade description of such character, relating to such matters, and applied in such manner, as is prescribed.

The Commerce (Imports) Regulations (the Regulations) prescribe the various labelling requirements for certain imported goods. Regulation 7 sets out a list of goods the importation of which is prohibited unless a trade description in accordance with the Regulations is applied to the goods. Subparagraph 7(1)(s)(ii) provides that goods, other than those contained in packages specified in Part II of Schedule 5, imported in the packages in which they are customarily sold are subject to the trade description requirements of the Regulations.

Paragraph (b) of item 19 of Part H of Schedule 5 (paragraph 19(b)) covers "... packages containing paper that is sold ... by number in quantities of more than four hundred and seventy nine sheets in wrapping applied to the paper at the mill at which it was produced and marked with the number of sheets contained in the wrapping and the dimension of each sheet."

A4 size photocopying paper is commonly imported in reams of 500 or more sheets, therefore paragraph 19(b) of Schedule 5 applies to exempt the labelling requirements of the Regulations, including requirements as to country of origin markings.

In response to concerns that large amounts of imported photocopying paper were being offered for sale with no indication of the country of origin the Government has decided to amend the Commerce (Imports) Regulations to remove the exception in paragraph 19(b) of Schedule 5 so that A4 size photocopying paper and other prepacked paper are no longer exempt from country of origin labelling requirements.

The regulations amend the regulations to omit item 19 of Part II of Schedule 5 and replace it with a new item 19 which covers only the packages previously described in paragraph (a) of item 19 (subregulation 4.2 refers). The effect of this change is that all imported pre-packed paper is subject to the labelling requirements of the regulations.

This opportunity has also been taken to effect two minor technical amendments to Schedule 5. First, the reference to the Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 in item 3 of Part I of the Schedule has been omitted and replaced with a reference to Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (subregulation 3.1 refers).

Second, the reference to bottles imported before the first day of November 1977 in item 18 of Part H of the Schedule is now considered obsolete and has been omitted (subregulation 4.1 refers).

The regulations commence on 19 July 1994 (regulation 1.1 refers). This date is in accordance with the requirement in subsection 7(4) of the Act that any regulations made under section 7 must not take effect until after the expiration of 3 months from notification in the Gazette.

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