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Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Page: 9720


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (Minister for Home Affairs) (10:49 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I am pleased to introduce the second bill relating to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (the Free Trade Agreement).

The Customs Tariff Amendment (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2009 will amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 by:

  • providing duty-free access for certain goods and preferential rates of customs duty for other goods that qualify for such treatment under the free trade agreement’s rules of origin;
  • phasing the preferential rates of customs duty for certain goods to zero by 2020; and
  • creating a new schedule 8 to the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to accommodate those phasing rates of duty.

Consistent with Australia’s tariff commitments under the free trade agreement, the amendments provide for the elimination of customs duties, on implementation of the agreement, for many goods that qualify as originating in Australia or New Zealand.

In other cases, the amendments provide for reduced, or preferential, rates of duty for goods originating in ASEAN countries or New Zealand, on implementation of the agreement. These preferential rates of duty will subsequently and progressively be eliminated, at the latest by the year 2020.

The free trade agreement also provides that the component of customs duty that is equal to excise duty imposed on alcohol, tobacco and petroleum products, when produced in Australia, will be retained.

New schedule 8 in the customs tariff bill will be used to specify the preferential and phasing rates of duty. If goods are not specified in schedule 8, as identified by their tariff classification number, the rate of duty will be free for those goods.

The Customs Tariff Amendment (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2009 will complement the amendments contained in the Customs Amendment (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2009, which provides the rules to determine whether a good has originated in an ASEAN country or New Zealand and should therefore qualify for preferential tariff treatment under the free trade agreement.

The free trade agreement will provide greater access to the Australian market for goods originating from ASEAN countries and New Zealand and, reciprocally, will provide greater access for Australian goods in the markets of the ASEAN countries and New Zealand.

Debate (on motion by Mr Billson) adjourned.

Leave granted for second reading debate to resume at a later hour this day.