The value of goods that customs brokers need to assess, and finding their “reasonable value” is a very important consideration to make, and will be discussed further in this article.
Under the FTA’s there are many different rules that may apply to the imported goods, for example fabrics, chemicals and food items under the AUSFTA all have different rules for consideration.
Another area of interest of goods imported from China to Australia is the “value” of goods. A number of years ago it might have been easier for a customs broker to identify an “average value” of certain types of goods. For example if a customs broker had a client who imported TV’s or computers very frequently the broker was able to determine a “reasonable value” of most TV’s or computers of similar style.
Now with many more imports from China and at prices a lot lower than 7 – 10 years ago, it can be a real challenge for a customs broker to determine a “reasonable value” for specific goods. I have also been alerted to the practice of China suppliers invoices being produced at a “lower value” than the “money price paid” by the importer.
This practice may also be happening with supplier’s goods from other countries of origin; I am not suggesting only China suppliers partake in this practice but I have seen what might be evidence of reduced invoice value from China suppliers, but not from other countries.
If your supplier asks you if you would like a lower value invoice for customs purposes please SAY NO! Most importers and suppliers are aware if imported goods value is less than $1000 AUD then no import duty or GST is payable and it appears this may be the contributing factor behind the lower invoice value being produced.
This practice is illegal and if a customs broker is alerted to this practice or if the customs broker has reasonable evidence or reasonable belief that an invoice at a lower value has been provided then the customs broker is obligated to produce the evidence or their reasonable belief to Australian Customs. This is a legislated obligation of a Licensed Customs Broker.
The customs broker has many obligations not only to their clients, importers and exporters, but to all government agencies such as Customs, AQIS, etc.
It will be interesting to see if the “values” of imported goods from China may change after the implementation and commencement of the ChAFTA, when the majority of goods will no longer attract the import duty.
While I am not suggesting customs brokers will increase their processing fees, more and more responsibility rests with the customs brokers. Customs brokers are required to inform importers and exporters of the various FTA’s and the rules associated with each FTA, assess all documents to ensure all conditions are met and also to ensure clients are in a position to take advantage of all concessions available to them to keep their importing costs to a minimum.
The ChAFTA will be very beneficial to all importers from China and these benefits will ultimately flow on to all Australians. The new legislation will be available for customs brokers to read and become familiar with so we can keep importers and exporters well informed of the benefits, rules, conditions and any exceptions which may apply.