Are you planning to upgrade your plant, or to make a capital equipment purchase, that will involve importing? If so, it may be important to examine the customs implications well in advance in order to legally minimise the amount of duty payable.

On a large project advanced action can result in duty savings of six figure amounts.

Ideally this process starts even before you finalise orders with overseas suppliers.  Your ITM account manager will consult with you to gain an appreciation of precisely what you will be importing in order to determine the current customs tariff classification and applicable duty rate. If the equipment thus classified attracts duty it will need to be determined whether existing tariff concessions may be applicable. It can be necessary to apply for customs rulings, in order to determine eligibility.  Alternatively we may advise you to apply for new tariff concessions.

All these processes take time – up to three months for rulings and concession applications. Furthermore, existing tariff concessions are interpreted very strictly and if your equipment does not exactly fit the concession description it can be ruled ineligible for the concession.

For example, one ITM client ordered a cheese production line. An existing tariff concession related but only applied if the production line was comprised of ALL the items listed in the concession one of which was moulds.The intended order, however, did not include moulds so ITM advised the customer to add several moulds to the order at a cost of $450.00. This allowed the production line to be imported duty-free saving around $100,000 in duty. These changes could not have been made once the goods were shipped.

So, if you are planning to import capital equipment, contact your ITM account manager early for the most cost-effective outcome.