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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1661


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I move:

Customs Tariff Proposal No. 14 (1973).

Customs Tariff Proposal No. 15 (1973).

The Customs Tariff Proposals which I have just tabled relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1972. These amendments arise from reports by the Tariff Board on: acetone derivatives; ethyl methyl ketone; metal plates etc. for printing purposes; and machine tools for working stone, etc. and wood, etc.; pneumatic hand tools, etc.; NZAFTA - machine tools for working wood, etc.; chain saws (Dumping and Subsidies Act). The duty alterations will operate tomorrow. In its report on acetone derivatives; ethyl methyl ketone the Board recommended that a rate of 40 per cent be applied to all the goods under reference except ethyl methyl ketone and mesityl oxide. For the latter 2 products the Board recommended admission free of duty.

On metal plates etc, for printing purposes the board recommended that the rates that were applicable to zinc plates, 25 per cent general tariff and 15 per cent preferential tariff, should also be applied to magnesium plates. This recommendation was designed to continue the situation whereby magnesium plates are dutiable at the same rates as those of zinc under a Substitutes and Imitations Notice issued by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Murphy). On other metal plates the Board recommended that minimum rates should apply.

In its report on machine tools for working stone etc, the Tariff Board has generally recommended that the goods under reference be dutiable at one of 2 industry rates. A general tariff rate of 25 per cent was recommended for certain specified sawmilling machinery. For most of the other equipment a general rate of 35 per cent has been recommended. In respect of chain saws the Board has, however, recognised that the sole local manufacturer of complete chain saws will face the major problem of establishing a new brand of chain saw on a highly competitive market and has therefore recommended a general tariff rate of 42½ per cent for chain saws and components for an initial period of 3 years with a rate of 35 per cent thereafter.

This report also covers the question of whether certain woodworking machinery should be included in Schedule A of the New Zealand - Australia Free Trade Agreement. The Board found that their inclusion in Schedule A should not be seriously detrimental to local industry. The Government proposes to take up the matter with the New Zealand Government, particularly in relation to access into New Zealand for the goods concerned. In accordance with Australia's trade arrangements with New Zealand a margin of preference of 5 per cent is being provided in favour of that country on non-protected items. However, pending possible representations from New Zealand to the effect that it has an important trade interest in the goods concerned provision is being made for these to be admitted free of duty under by-law.

These Tariff Board reports are the first considered by the Government since it decided that action for dealing with reports held over as a result of the Rattigan Committee's report should continue. The Government has decided that where it accepts a recommendation of the Tariff Board contained in a report received prior to 19 July, the duties approved for inclusion in the Customs Tariff shall, subject to international commitments, be those recommended by the Board less 25 per cent, with preferential rates set in accordance with the principles embodied in the formulae announced on 4 August by the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns).

The rates recommended by the Board in reports signed but not released prior to 19 July will be regarded as the benchmarks up to which rates may be restored in any subsequent reference to the tribunal appointed to examine claims of damage resulting from the general tariff reduction. A comprehensive summary of the changes and duty rates is being circulated to honourable members. I commend the proposals.

Debate (on motion by Mr Street) adjourned.







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