As many would be aware, there have been issues with the tariff classification of solar kits resulting in significant demands from Customs for unpaid dumping and countervailing duty.

The demands follow a series of audits by Customs on importers of solar kits where Customs has formed its view that the imports are of "aluminium extrusions" rather than "unassembled structures".  This has been based on a Customs Tariff Precedent as to what constitutes "unassembled structures".  That conclusion has led to Customs pursuing demands for past dumping and countervailing duties together with the possibility of penalties for incorrect classification of the goods.

Importers are experiencing particular difficulty meeting these demands as liability to duty was not included as part of the original costing and sales prices for the goods and there is no way to recover the unpaid duty going back up to four years.

The position is made more difficult as there is no available immediate remedy or avenue for review, for example through the AAT, to challenge the approach that Customs has adopted or otherwise challenge the application of the dumping and countervailing measures to these goods.

We have been approached by a number of importers and their licensed customs brokers for assistance.  We are now exploring an option of establishing a group of affected importers to present a collective approach to Customs and Government in response to the demands which may be more effective than a series of separate responses from individual importers.