What are the benefits of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)?
By Bryan Boyne (g.g.) , Wednesday, February 17, 2010
*The following is intended to point our Australian customers to information that may be helpful in determining taxes and duties that may and may not be applicable to your purchase from Whiteflash.com. It is important for customers to verify this information independently before completing a transaction as laws do change and information and links contained within this article may become outdated or be otherwise incorrect.
Contained in this article:
The International trade agreement known as AUSFTA went into effect on January 1, 2005 as a means of stimulating trade between Australia and the United States. Under AUSFTA, Australia and the United States have agreed to eliminate customs duties on goods originating from the other country.
Because most of the jewelry products that Whiteflash.com sells are manufactured in-house they may qualify as originating in the U.S. under AUSFTA, even if certain components (such as diamonds, precious stones, and precious metals) originate from other countries. These products may therefore become eligible for preferential treatment and exemption from import duty into Australia. For high value products costing in the thousands of dollars, duty exemption may save the customer hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their purchase! The trade agreement also provides a process for receiving refunds of any duties paid in the last four years for qualifying imports.
In an effort to make the process convenient and seamless for our customers, Whiteflash.com makes specific notations on the commercial documents to ensure that Australian customs has the information they need to properly classify the products and apply any duty exemptions that qualify. We use FedEx exclusively for shipments to Australia and our documentation specifically alerts customs that the product may be eligible for preferential treatment under AUSFTA.
No extra action should therefore be required on the part of our customers to ensure that a qualifying import is cleared free of duty. But some customers take the additional precaution of calling their local customs office as soon as they receive their tracking number further alerting them that the item should clear under AUSFTA.
*Although a product is duty free, other fees and taxes that may be payable such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) are not exempted by AUSFTA.
For customers that have imported items in the past four years on which duty was paid on items eligible for preferential treatment under AUSFTA, Australian customs provides a form that can be filed in order to get a refund. This form can also be obtained from Fed Ex if the import was delivered by them and they will file it. * You might be eligible for refund of some GST in addition to duty, as GST is calculated after duty is added.
It should also be noted that loose diamonds are duty free even apart from the AUSFTA.
Article 5.12: Claims for Preferential Treatment
1. Each Party shall provide that an importer may make a claim
for preferential treatment under this Agreement based on the
importer’s knowledge or on information in the importer’s possession
that the good qualifies as an originating good.
2. Each Party may require that an importer be prepared to
submit, on request, a statement setting forth the reasons that the good
qualifies as an originating good, including pertinent cost and
manufacturing information. The statement need not be in a
prescribed format, and may be submitted electronically, where
Article 5.12 of AUSFTA does not require a certificate of origin. The information can
be in any form that the manufacturer wishes to provide, so long as it shows that the
imported good meets the rules of origin requirements of AUSFTA.
"Customs operates in a self-assessment environment, where information provided to it
is treated in the first instance as true and correct.
When a customs entry states that a US preference rate of duty applies, this will be
taken to indicate that the importer of the goods possesses information, or knowledge,
as required in Article 5.12, paragraph 1, above, that this declaration is correct."
Claiming Preferential Treatment / Exporting to the United States
Under the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement, the onus for making a claim for a preferential tariff rate for a product rests with the importer.
The Agreement does not require a Certificate of Origin in support of a claim for preference. However, importers claiming preference for a good must be prepared to submit, upon request by Customs authorities, a statement setting out the reasons why that particular Rule of Origin applies. The Agreement does not specify a particular format for such a statement.
Customs officials can require importers to maintain documents relating to purchases and costs for up to five years after importation should investigation and verification of preference claims be required. Customs officials can also seek information from exporters in verifying claims.
Period for Lodging a Refund Application
An application for refund of duty paid on goods imported on or after 12 October 2005 must be lodged within a four (4) year period after the date on which the duty was paid. An application for refund of duty on goods imported prior to 12 October 2005 can now only be considered in specified exceptional circumstances – please contact Customs for advice if you think they may apply.
For More Information
For information on obtaining refund of import duty on goods for export, see the EXPORT CONCESSIONS DUTY DRAWBACK SCHEME fact sheet and the Refund of Customs Import Duty Practice Statement on www.customs.gov.au
For information on any Customs matter, contact the Customs Information and Support Center on 1300 363 263, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tariff Classifications (see page 30 for jewelry related items)
Customs Tariff Schedules pertaining to jewelry
Determination of Originating Goods
Refund of Duties Paid
Australian Customs' dedicated refund centre (03)9244 8054.
email address: email@example.com