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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4550

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to the statement in the newsletter 'So I'm Told', circulated under the name of John Burgess, Director. Textile Council of Australia, that fabrics being imported from China and purporting to be woollen piecegoods do not contain any wool at all but in fact, comprise 60 per cent viscose and 40 per cent polyamide

(2)   If so will he examine the correctness of the Customs declarations accompanying the samples and the duty charged.

(3)   If he has not seen the article, will he call for the newsletter, examine the charges and report to the Parliament the result of his examination.

Mr Chipp - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   I had not previously seen the newsletter mentioned, but a copy has been obtained and examined, particularly as to the textile sample card reproduced in the letter. The heading of the card is 'Wollen Piece Goods' but the composition stated in the body of the card is viscose 60 per cent and polyamide 40 per cent. I have ascertained that this card was one of a number forwarded from Mainland China to a Melbourne importer, all similarly headed but with varying compositions shown on the cards. Some samples were alleged to contain wool, others not.

Customs analyses of the very small samples available have confirmed the actual composition as shown in the body of the cards.

(2)   The Customs Declaration accompanying the package of samples described the contents as Samples of Woollen Piece Goods'. As samples of negligible value, the package was released without payment of duty and most probably without examination.

(3)   lt has been ascertained that the company receiving the samples in question has not made any commercial importations as a result of these samples.

However, an examination of entries made during the last twelve months for piece goods alleged to be of wool or containing wool, from Mainland China, has shown only four such importations, these from the exporter supplying the samples in question.

Two of the importations were properly, invoiced as 45 per cent wool and 55 per cent polyester. Both were imported by manufacturers, who were fully aware of the composition.

The other two importations were to Sydney over nine months ago. In these instances the shipments were invoiced as woollen piece goods but recent analysis has confirmed that each contained 52 per cent polyester and 48 per cent wool. This composition docs not alter the rate of duty paid. The piece goods were correctly marked and have been offered by the importer under the correct composition.

I might add for the honourable member's information that opportunity is regularly taken to confirm the application of the required marking to piece goods. No such goods from Mainland China have been detected as unmarked or incorrectly marked in the past twelve months, lt is

(5)   As at end October 1971: also a continuing function of the Department of Customs and Excise to ensure by, every means available, that the correct duty is paid upon all goods imported.

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