JAPAN–AUSTRALIA ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP BILLS INTRODUCED
Legislation to give effect to the Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), signed on 8 July 2014, has been introduced into parliament. The Customs Amendment (Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 (the Customs Bill) will amend the Customs Act to introduce new rules of origin for goods that are imported into Australia from Japan. The Customs Act amendments will enable goods that satisfy the rules of origin to enter Australia at preferential rates of customs duty. The Customs Tariff Amendment (Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 will amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to implement the JAEPA by:
- providing free rates of customs duty for goods that are Japanese originating goods in accordance with new Div 1K which will be inserted in the Customs Act by the Customs Bill
- amending Sch 4 to the Customs Tariff to maintain customs duty rates for certain Japanese originating goods in accordance with the applicable concessional item
- phasing the preferential rates of customs duty for certain goods to free by 2021, and
- inserting a new Sch 11 in the Customs Tariff to accommodate the preferential and phasing rates of duty and to maintain excise-equivalent rates of duty on certain alcohol, tobacco and petroleum products. These rates are equivalent to the rates of excise duty payable on these goods when these products are locally manufactured.
The amendments will be operative from the later of the day the Customs Bill receives the Royal Assent and the day the JAEPA, signed on 8 July 2014, comes into force for Australia. The JAEPA is expected to come into force in early 2015, subject to Australia’s treaty process being completed and the exchange of diplomatic letters.