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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 262

Mr GARLAND (Curtin) (Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs) - I move:

Customs Tariff Proposals Nos 1, 2 and 3 (1980) and Excise Tariffproposals No. 1 ( 1 980).

The Customs Tariff Proposals I have just tabled relate to proposed alterations to the Customs Tariff Act 1966. The Proposals formally place before Parliament, as required by law, tariff changes introduced by Gazette notices during the last recess.

Proposals No. 1 contains tariff changes resulting from the Government's decision on recommendations made by the Industries Assistance Commission in its reports on:

Coated Copying Film; and

Ships, Boats and Other Vessels Not Exceeding 6,000 Tons Gross Register

The Government has accepted the Commission 's recommendation that a duty rate of 25 per cent apply to coated copying film. The 25 per cent rate, which is equivalent to previous substantive and additional temporary duties, is the same as that applying to carbon paper and the Government agrees with the Commission's assessment that the rates should be the same because of the high degree of substitutability in the use of these products. No significant effects are expected on total activity and employment within the local industry.

Changes arising from the Commission's report on ships, boats, et cetera, follow the Government's general acceptance of the Commission's recommendations that vessels not exceeding 150 gross tons and fishing vessels not exceeding 2 1 metres in length be dutiable at 25 per cent. Previous duties were generally 26 per cent General and 19 per cent Preferential.

Larger vessels are dutiable at minimum rates and subject to bounty assistance. The Commission reported that the new rates of duty are not expected to have significant economic, social or employment consequences.

Proposals No. 2 contain tariff changes resulting from: Firstly, the Government's decision, as advised to the House by my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony) on 26 September last year, to remove the margin of preference for certain goods of United Kingdom or Ireland origin. The effect of this decision is that the rates of duty applying to some 500 items have been increased to the General Tariff level; secondly, the removal of the commitment to maintain a margin of preference for certain New Zealand goods following consultations with New Zealand. Removal of the margin of preference has no effect on the actual duty payable on these goods as provision existed for their admission under by-law pending resolution of the consultations with New Zealand; thirdly, the Government's decision on the recommendations by the Industries Assistance Commission that import quotas continue to apply to passenger motor vehicles and that a proportion of the quota be allocated by tender. The rate of duty applying to imports against tender as a result of the first tender quota allocation is 95.5 per cent.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

Mr GARLAND - Before the suspension of the sitting I was introducing the Customs Tariffproposals Nos. 1 to 3 and I was enumerating the Proposals contained in No. 2. The fourth point is the decision of the Government to exempt certain specialised footwear, subject to import licensing, from the 12.5 per cent special additional Customs duty; and the fifth point is Australia's bilateral settlements with the European Community, Japan and the United States of America in the context of multilateral trade negotiations. Honourable members will recall the statement by my colleague the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Resources on this matter in the House on 21 November last year. As a result of these arrangements rates of duty on a number of items have been reduced. Tariff changes contained in Proposals No. 3 implement the Government's decisions on recommendations made by the Industries Assistance Commission in its reports on certain engines not exceeding 7.46 kW; rotary cultivators; and tractors having a power less than 15 kW; and baby carriages and parts therefor.

The Commission's recommendations on the long-term levels of assistance for certain small industrial engines, rotary cultivators and small tractors have been accepted by the Government. As a result, duty rates on pedestrian operated rotary cultivators and small tractors have been increased from 22.5 per cent to 25 per cent. Tractor drawn cultivators attract a duty rate of 1 5 per cent. The current duty arrangements for small industrial engines, 40 per cent phasing to 35 per cent in November 1980, remain unchanged.

The increased duties on cultivators, and the reduced duties on engines will improve the competitive position of the local cultivator manufacturers. The Government therefore also accepted the IAC's assessment that a lower rate of bounty would still provide local manufacturers with the opportunity to make any adjustments to production considered necessary in the light of changing market patterns. Consequently I will be introducing a Bill at a later date to reduce the bounty payable on cultivators. The Government has also accepted the long-term duty rate of 20 per cent recommended by the Commission in respect of baby carriages and parts.

Previously the general tariff rate was 35 per cent but the removal of the United Kingdom preferential rate of 12 per cent means that the industry has in effect gained an increase in assistance. The Commission's inquiry had its origin in competition from the United Kingdom in the higher quality and prices lines. There is also competition in the lower priced market segment from Taiwan. While the 20 per cent long term rate represents a small reduction in assistance against Taiwan- formerly attracting a developing country rate of 22 per cent- this import source does not appear to have caused difficulties for the Australian industry.

However, to assist local manufacturers to consolidate their market position the Government has decided to defer for two years introduction of the long term rate. In the interim a rate of 25 per cent will apply. This rate has been determined after consideration of market changes and the Commission's comments on the local industry's price disadvantage. A comprehensive summary setting out the nature of the duty changes has been prepared and is being circulated to honourable members. I commend the Proposals to the House.

Excise Tariffproposals No. 1 (1980) which I have just tabled formally place before Parliament alteration to the excise tariff introduced during the summer recess by authority of Gazette Notice No. 2 (1979) under section 160B of the Excise Act. Proposals No. 1 (1980) increase the excise duty on stabilised crude petroleum oil from $102.27 to $140.1 1 per kilolitre operating on and from 1 January 1980. This alteration followed determination, by the Minister for National Development and Energy (Senator Carrick), of new import parity prices from 1 January 1980 in accordance with the

Government's decision that all Australianproduced crude oil should be priced to refineries at import parity levels. I commend these Proposals to the House.

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