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Wednesday, 24 October 1956


Mr OSBORNE (Evans) (Minister for Air) . - I move -

That duties of customs be imposed in accordance with the following provisions: -

(1)   If the Minister is satisfied that any goods produced or manufactured in a par ticular country are being imported into Australia under such conditions as to cause or threaten serious injury -

(a)   to producers in Australia of like or directly competitive goods; or

(b)   to producers in a third country of like or directly competitive goods which are dutiable at a rate applicable under the British Preferential Tariff or at a rate lower than the rate that would be applicable under that tariff, he may publish a notice in the "Commonwealth of Australia Gazette " specifying the goods as to which he is so satisfied.

(2)   The Minister shall not publish a notice in accordance with thelast preceding paragraph unless he is satisfied that the publication of the notice is not inconsistent with the obligations of Australia to another country under an international agreement relating to tariffs or trade.

(3)   Upon publication of a notice in accordance with this Proposal, there shall be charged, collected and paid to the use of the Queen, for the purposes of the Commonwealth, on goods specified in the notice imported into Australia a special duty (in this Proposal referred to as "the emergency duty").

(4)   The amount of the emergency duty in each case shall be a sum equal to the amount, if any, by which the landed duty-paid cost of the goods is less than a reasonably competitive landed duty-paid cost ascertained as determined by the Minister.

(5)   In making a determination in accordance with the last preceding paragraph in relation to goods produced or manufactured in a particular country, the Minister shall, if like or directly competitive goods produced or manufactured in another country are being imported into Australia, have regard to the landed duty-paid costs of the lastmentioned goods.

(6)   In this Proposal, "the landed duty-paid cost " means -

(a)   in relation to goods that have been purchased by the importer - the amount, expressed in Australian currency, that is equivalent to the cost to the importer (including the amount of any duty of customs other than the emergency duty) of the goods landed in Australia; or

(b)   in relation to any other goods (including goods consigned by the producer or manufacturer of the goods for sale in Australia) - the amount, expressed in Australian currency, that would have been the landed duty-paid cost, in accordance with the last preceding sub-paragraph, if the person who owned the goods at the time of their importation into Australia had, before the goods were imported, sold them to a person in Australia and that last-mentioned person had imported them into Australia.

(7)   Where, in relation to any goods, the Minister is of opinion that -

(a)   it is difficult to ascertain the landed duty-paid cost; or

(b)   the purchase price or any other item of cost to be included in the landed duty-paid cost was not fixed on a bona fide commercial basis, the Minister may determine the landed duty-paid cost, having regard to costs of production and manufacture in the country in which the goods were produced or manufactured and other relevant matters.

(8)   The provisions of sections 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921-1936 shall apply to and in relation to the emergency duty in like manner as they apply to and in relation to the duties imposed by that Act.

(9)   In this Proposal, "the Minister" means the Minister administering the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921-1936, as amended from time to time.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, to which Australia is a party, permits a member country to take emergency action against imports entering the country under conditions which cause, or threaten, serious injury to domestic producers or to producers in a third country whose exports are entitled to entry under a preferential tariff. The principal trading nations of the world have therefore decided that it is necessary for a country to have this power and, by international agreement, have recognized the right of countries to take emergency action against imports in certain circumstances.

Clearly it is necessary that Australia should be in a position to exercise an emergency power which she has been conceded by international agreement. There is not, however, any appropriate existing Australian legislation which would permit the exercise of the emergency power envisaged by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The purpose of this proposal is to amend the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921-1936 to provide the Minister for Customs and Excise with the legislative authority necessary to take emergency action against imports which enter Australia under conditions, such as at very low prices, which cause, or threaten, serious injury to our industries or to industries in other countries whose exports enter Australia under a preferential tariff. The action would take the form of the imposition of an emergency duty.

Progress reported.







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