On 17 September 2018, the House of Representatives passed the Customs Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 (Customs Amendment Bill). According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Customs Amendment Bill proposes to amend the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) to introduce new rules of origin for goods imported into Australia from a Party to the Comprehensive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11).

On the same day, the House of Representatives also passed the Customs Tariff Amendment (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation) Bill 2018 (Customs Tariff Amendment Bill).  According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Customs Tariff Amendment is to amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (Cth) to implement the TPP-11 and provide preferential  rates of customs duty.

The TPP-11 amendments in the Customs Amendment Bill will enable eligible goods that satisfy the new rules of origin to be entered into Australia at preferential rates of customs duty. The amendments will also impose obligations on exporters of eligible goods to a Party to the TPP-11 for which a preferential rate of customs duty is claimed, and on manufacturers who produce such goods.

The Customs Tariff Amendment Bill proposes to amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the TPP-11 by:

  • providing preferential rates of customs duty for all goods, excluding excise-equivalent goods, that are Trans-Pacific Partnership originating goods;
  • providing for excise-equivalent rates of duty on certain alcohol, tobacco and fuel products for phasing rates of customs duty; and
  • amending certain concessional items to maintain customs duty rates in line with applicable concessional item and in accordance with the TPP-11.

The TPP-11 is a new treaty that incorporates, by reference, the provisions of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership as signed by Ministers on 4 February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Under the TPP-11, signatories will implement the TPP between them, with the exception of a limited number of provisions, which will be suspended. Suspensions will remain in place until the Parties agree to end them by consensus.