Category: Customs & Trade

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A collection of case studies and articles highlighting the latest in legal news.




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How blockchain may affect practices in the supply chain – nowhere to hide!

23 July 2019

The term seems to have first arisen in the early 1990s with reference to an ‘open distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way’ and was developed to serve as a ‘public transaction ledger’ for the bitcoin cryptocurrency.

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Recent Ministerial decisions on trade measures investigations and the consequences for industry

15 July 2019

This article was published in the July print edition of Daily Cargo News and updated for recent events

In the week leading to the recent Federal election, the Minister for Industry Science and Technology (Minister) released her decisions as to the imposition of interim dumping and countervailing duties on steel pallet racking and PVC covered electrical cabling

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Ministerial decisions on dumping duty investigations released in the shadow of the Australian Federal election

08 July 2019

In the week leading to the Federal election, the Minister for Industry Science and Technology (Minister) released her decisions as to the imposition of interim dumping and countervailing duties on steel pallet racking and PVC covered electrical cabling.

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A separate Australian response to the global trade impasse?

26 June 2019

This article was first published in AirCargo magazine, June 2019.

Those in industry (let alone anyone with an interest in world news) would be painfully aware that global trade is under massive pressure at the moment. Examples of these threats are everywhere and if they come to pass, the consequences will be uniformly bad. Trade and global integration has been a driver of financial and social improvement with the World Bank estimating that more than a billion people have been lifted out of poverty over the last 25 years.

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High Court Appeal – Comptroller-General of Customs v Pharm-A-Care Laboratories Pty Ltd

29 May 2019

This article is co-authored by Andrew Hudson and Bethany Clark 

During each year we discuss various important decisions handed down by the Tribunals and Courts.

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New Parliament could expedite FTAs and other trade initiatives

21 May 2019

Now that the Australian Federal election has been run and won, attention will turn to the priorities of the Coalition Government once Parliament resumes, whether in relation to the introduction of new initiatives or pursuit of the agenda which had been on hold pending the election outcome.

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What happens next for pending FTAs and our trade agenda after the election?

08 May 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

I write this article on 12 April 2019, shortly after the announcement of the federal budget and the announcement of the date for the federal election. As expected, this period encompassed the usual claim and counter-claim between the major political parties and the usual cynicism that even after the election, the political landscape may not change significantly.

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Brexit is deferred but still alive – and the fun’s certainly not over

30 April 2019

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

Faced with the prospect of a no deal Brexit on 12 April 2019, the EU and the UK put into place a compromise that is referred to as a ‘flextension’ because it delays Brexit until 31 October 2019, subject to a number of conditions. 

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Proposed developments in digital transformation and enhancement of trade to assist the position of SMEs

17 April 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

Technology has contributed to improvements in trade and is seen as one means to facilitate improvements. For example, many parties are looking to Blockchain as a means to enhance both the speed and safety in the movement of goods. Most contemporary Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include provisions to facilitate customs procedures and trade as well as chapters on assisting e-commerce. In one excellent example, the FTA Portal by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) comprises up to date information on the terms of our FTAs in a way which makes it easier for parties to understand the FTAs and take advantage of them.

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Australian Federal Budget 2019 – Released. Sort of.

03 April 2019

The Federal Budget 2019 was formally released by the Federal Government last night (2 April 2019). However, in an election year, the Federal Government took the unusual path of confirming that the government would not be seeking to pass new legislation implementing that Budget in the remaining Parliamentary sitting days. Instead, the Budget legislation would be left only to pass if the government is re-elected in the next Federal Election which is likely to take place in May 2019.

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NZ Customs opens the Infringement Notice Scheme for business

27 March 2019

As many readers would be aware, when the New Zealand Customs Act 2018 (Act) commenced on 10 October 2018, not all of its provisions come into force on the same day.

I had been working with Custom Brokers & Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand (CBAFF) and other members of the Stakeholders Reference Group (Group) established by New Zealand Customs (Customs) in reviewing the proposed terms of the Act including changes to powers to Customs and the enforcement regime in the Act.

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Please sir, a dog ate my Brexit

11 March 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

The term “Brexit” has well and truly entered into regular use and represents one of the top topics for news and current affairs at the moment. The world is transfixed by developments in the UK including close attention to the (non) passage of legislation to implement the Exit Agreement brokered by the UK Government with the EU and the associated pressure on the UK Conservative Government. As the day of departure from the EU approaches (29 March 2019), the absence of a clear exit process gives rise to more concerns on how the world will cope if no deal (or a bad deal) is struck.

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Stevedore infrastructure charges remain a concern for industry and government

01 March 2019

Australia depends heavily on sea cargo and the efficient movement of goods through the supply chain both for exports and imports. The benefits of the proliferation of free trade agreements (FTAs) and other initiatives aimed at facilitating trade and reducing barriers and costs, can be compromised when access to the infrastructure is limited, delayed or made more expensive, especially where there is little recourse against those practices.

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The High Court confirms real and present financial danger for those handling goods under customs control

01 March 2019

When most goods enter the country, the completion of customs formalities usually includes the payment of customs and excise duty. However in a number of cases, the duties are not paid on import and the goods are moved under “customs control” to “licensed premises” which are secured facilities, whether bonds or warehouses where goods are held pending payment of the duties and release into “home consumption” for wider use, often for retail sale.

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Australia looks to decryption of communications and competition reform in the operation of digital platforms

26 February 2019

For a variety of reasons Australians have wholeheartedly embraced the various means of electronic communication and social media platforms.

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The High Court finally rules on liability

18 February 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.

Beware those working in licensed premises – you can be liable for amounts equal to duty owing on goods stolen from those premises.

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The Productivity Commission weighs in on regulation of Australian airports

15 February 2019

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) website describes its main role as:

“Providing independent research and advice to government on economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians”

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There was (legislative) movement at the border of 2019 for tobacco and asbestos imports and FTA rule

01 February 2019

The Australian border is a busy place, not just in terms of the movement of goods and people and not just in terms of the many free trade agreements (FTAs) and other trade developments.

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Risks of transporting goods by sea: loss of containers in transit & the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

25 January 2019

While there has recently been significant commentary on Chain of Responsibility under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and transport of goods by road the most common manner of importing and exporting goods to and from Australia is by sea.

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Trade law: similar but different

15 January 2019

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News, January 2019.

It really should come as no surprise that Australia and New Zealand have a shared experience and agenda when it comes to customs and trade matters. After all, both countries started out as far-flung outposts of the British Empire, both started with a similar legal framework and both have some similar trade interests and challenges, as well as similar national security interests.

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The case for a new Australian Customs Act

06 December 2018

This article was first published by AirCargo magazine, December 2018.

One of the essential elements of good regulation is the need for clear contemporary supporting legislation and associated regulation.

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Potential pitfalls of the impending TPP-11

05 December 2018

This article was first published by the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia.

I have been working with the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) to develop guidance material and host legal forums on the introduction of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), a free trade agreement that comes into play from 30 December 2018.

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Free trade agreement updates: Trans Pacific Partnership and the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement

01 November 2018

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP 11) to start on 30 December 2018

Good news for all – six countries have ratified the commencement of TPP 11, which is the magic number to allow the agreement to commence (for those countries which have ratified the Agreement)

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Parallel importing just got easier

26 October 2018

There has been a significant amendment to the Trade Marks Act 1995 which further entrenches the legality of parallel imports in Australia.

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Legislation to implement the Trans Pacific Partnership passes through Australian Parliament

18 October 2018

While most of the Australian population (and its media) are fixated on the Royal visit or the AFL player trade, those in the industry have had a similar level of interest in the movement towards Australian domestic ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) (aka the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and its possible commencement date.

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TPP-11 will still face scrutiny says lawyer

11 October 2018

This article was first published by Daily Cargo News, October 2018.

A Senior trade lawyer says the Trans-Pacific Partnership still will be subject to a transparent review process before being implemented by the government.

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Load restraint provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law

01 October 2018

Readers will be aware from our previous articles (available herehere and here) that the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will come into force on 1 October 2018.

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Australia presses ahead with its FTA agenda after its own regime changes

21 September 2018

This article was first published in AirCargo magazine, September 2018.

Notwithstanding the issues associated with changes in the Australian Federal Government (including a new prime minister and new ministers for both Foreign Affairs and Trade), the process of approval of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and parliamentary reviews of FTAs before enabling legislation is introduced to Parliament has continued.

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Infringement Notices become ‘kind of a big thing’

08 September 2018

Infringement Notices (INs) were once a relatively minor nuisance in industry, largely associated with speeding or parking fines. However, since the introduction of the Infringement Notice Scheme (INS) to the Customs Act 1901 (Customs Act), INs have taken on much greater significance. That significance may escalate again following a recent media release by the Australian Border Force and the release by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of its notice of intention to implement its broadly-based INS under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act).

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ADC releases interim report identifying circumvention on certain aluminium extrusions

23 August 2018

There have long been allegations that importers and their service providers here and overseas have been engaged (knowingly or innocently) in “circumventing” existing measures otherwise payable on imported goods.

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“We’re gonna need a bigger Org chart”

22 August 2018

Some readers will recall the final scenes of the original Jaws movie when the captain of the shark hunting vessel (Robert Shaw) finally sees the size of the monster shark and loudly announces “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” (and is then eaten by the shark).

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Modern slavery and the Australian workplace

21 August 2018

This article was updated on 29 August 2018 and provides an update to our previous coverage on this matter.

Slavery is thought of as something from a past era. However, legislators across the world have passed laws this decade to combat modern slavery, for example, in 2010 California passed the Transparency in Supply Chains Act. In 2015, the UK followed with the Modern Slavery Act.

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The role of the private sector in advancing trade facilitation and modernisation

17 July 2018

The idea of facilitating secure and compliant trade underpins many international agreements such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and WCO Safe Framework of Standards (SAFE) and is reflected in many “Authorised Economic Operator” programmes such as our own Australian Trusted Trader Programme (ATTP).

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The debate on HSS goes on as Home Affairs seeks to draw the line on Line Pipe

16 July 2018

Many readers would be aware of the ongoing debate on what constitutes Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) steel or iron which is subject to dumping or countervailing duties. That has included debate on whether the alleged HSS is, in fact, another type of product (scaffolding for example) or whether the HSS is actually only part of a larger structure and should be classified on that basis.

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Life beyond the Lobby with new security laws passed

13 July 2018

Australia passes espionage, foreign interference, foreign influence and critical infrastructure security laws.

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US air cargo measures to be extended to all exports by air by 1 March 2019

02 July 2018

Readers would be aware that as and from 1 July 2017, all Australian air cargo exports to the United States were required to undergo new “piece level” screening to accommodate the requirements of the US Transportation Security Administration.

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The Budget is released and details begin to emerge

29 May 2018

The Australian Federal Budget for the 2018/2019 year was announced in Parliament on 8 May 2018. Individual summaries for portfolios can be found at the relevant websites for the portfolio agencies.

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High Court opens the way to an appeal on liability for amounts equivalent to duty

14 May 2018

Those operating premises licensed for the handling and retention of goods ‘under customs control’ face a number of significant challenges:

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‘Best (act) Before’ Country of Origin food labelling deadlines are enforceable

09 May 2018

How to prepare to comply

From 1 July 2018 food businesses must comply with labelling requirements set out by the Australian Government which aim to provide consumers with greater transparency on the origin of their food.

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A trade ‘Letter from America’

03 May 2018

This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.

The renowned journalist Alistair Cooke famously wrote and broadcast ‘Letter from America’ from the US for a period of 58 years. It was a concise and learned spoken piece, around 15 minutes in length in which Mr Cooke delivered observations on developments in the US over the preceding week to a BBC audience in a manner intended to educate the listener and remove some of the confusion usually associated with the US. 

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Operators of warehouse found liable for amounts equal to duty on stolen cigarettes

02 March 2017

This article was originally published by the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia and Australian Federation of International Forwarders.

The decision of the AAT in Zaps Transport (Aust) Pty Ltd, Domenic Zappia and John Zappia ats the Comptroller – General of Customs continues the long line of judgments holding those operating licensed warehouse liable for amounts equivalent to customs duty.

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