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Wednesday, 8 August 2001
Page: 29380

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Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (10:01 AM) — I» «move» :

That the bill «be» «now» «read» «a» «second» «time .

The Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 5) 2001 contains approximately 800 amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995.

These amendments implement changes resulting from the second review of the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, commonly referred to as the harmonised system.

The harmonised system provides a hierarchical system of headings and subheadings to uniquely identify all traded goods and commodities.

It is reviewed periodically by the World Customs Organization, with changes resulting from the first major review being implemented in 1996.

Australia's commodity classifications for traded goods have been based on the harmonised system since 1988, with most other countries in the world having now also adopted the system.

As a signatory to the international convention, Australia and other signatory countries are required to implement the changes arising from the second review, from 1 January 2002.

The second review of the harmonised system has focused on deleting those headings and subheadings where there are low levels of international trade.

The review also introduces amendments to reflect changes in industry practices and technological developments.

It provides new headings and subheadings to allow signatory parties to separately identify new products such as certain categories of waste, including chemical and clinical waste and narcotic substances.

Finally, many of the amendments are designed to clarify existing descriptions and terminology in the harmonised system.

While giving effect to the changes to the harmonised system, the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 5) 2001 also ensures that existing duty rates and levels of tariff protection for Australian industries and margins of tariff preference accorded to Australia's trading partners are preserved.

The Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 5) 2001 will also align Australia's tariff structure with the international standard.

I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Horne) adjourned.