Making the complex simple - Duty Minimsation strategies

Practically every day we have the opportunity to bring to the attention of our import customers the various legitimate ways of minimising duty payable on goods imported to Australia. There are many avenues available and it can be quite complicated depending on the nature of your imports. However, we see it simply as just another important aspect of ITM’s service to assist our customers in these matters. For example, we recently saved a client thousands of dollars in duty by suggesting that the supplier obtain a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin since the goods in question could enter Australia duty-free under this agreement. Surprisingly we are still seeing many cases where neither the supplier nor importer know of the existence of Free Trade Agreements and are therefore unaware of the potential savings they can achieve by obtaining a simple certificate of origin.

We would encourage all clients to take advantage of ITM’s customs expertise and by raising awareness of the following avenues available for minimising duty on imported goods:

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) – The list of countries with which Australia has Free Trade Agreements is extensive. FTAs represent one of the simplest ways of obtaining duty savings. Each FTA has its own set of rules, ITM reviews the country of origin on all imports, determines the applicability of FTAs and requests further information when necessary to determine whether or not the goods meet the relevant origin criteria in order to minimise duty.

Correct Classification of goods – Some goods are duty-free in their own right which means correct classification of products can be very important in order to avoid paying duty unnecessarily. ITM regularly audits our customs declarations and classifications.  Where there are any doubts we seek formal rulings from Australian Border Force to ensure the classification and duty rate applied are correct

Tariff Concession Orders (TCOs) – Goods intended for import that are not produced in Australia (nor goods deemed to be similar) may be eligible for duty-free entry by way of a TCO. Where there is not already a TCO in place for the goods you intend to import, the option is available to apply for your own TCO and ITM is more than happy to assist with this extensive process.

By-Laws – The intended end-use of imported goods (e.g. exhibition, returned goods, educational etc.) can also qualify them for duty-free entry. This can be much trickier to determine than with the above three options but can, nonetheless, still be valid. ITM has the right people, with years of experience, to provide advice as to whether or not this could be a valid option for you to consider.

Duty Drawback / Tradex Scheme – In certain circumstances, goods that are imported with the intention of re-export at a later date may be eligible for a refund of the duty paid on importation once the goods have been re-exported; this is known as a Duty Drawback. In other situations duty can be deferred under the Tradex Scheme. In either case ITM’s expertise is available to help our customers achieve duty savings.

It is our goal to make sure you’re not paying duty on goods when there are options available to reduce or remove any duty otherwise applicable. Please be sure to contact your account manager to discuss how ITM can help you achieve duty savings today.


David McManus
Customs Manager