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Refunds, drawbacks, credits, grants

Through our analysis of a client's import data, we identified certain components had been imported in the same shipments as complete machines but in quantities exceeding the number of complete machines. As a stand-alone, each additional component was eligible for an existing Tariff Concession Order, an opportunity which had been missed on entry for home consumption when they first arrived in Australia.

The client claimed a refund in excess of $13 million for the overpaid customs duty. 

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Australian manufacturers

We prepared an application and assisted a manufacturing client through the full process of successfully having dumping duty imposed on imports of product X from five countries. The client recovered from the material injury caused by those imports and restored profitability to its business.  

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Exporters, importers, distributors, end-users

Dumping duty had been imposed on a product for fifteen years and looked to continue for another five years under a review of the measures. The submissions we lodged for a client successfully argued that the measures should be removed because the product had not recently been imported into Australia at a dumped price, there was no material injury to the Australian industry being caused by dumped imports and there was no imminent threat of material injury.  

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Projects - customs duty concessions and AIP Plans

A client recently finished constructing a greenfield plant but had placed an order on an overseas company early in the planning stages for technology which it believed was only available outside of Australia. This complicated the process in establishing that, aside from this, Australian industry had been provided with a full, fair and reasonable opportunity to tender for the project.

However, we were able to demonstrate that equivalent goods were not manufactured in Australia but still needed to provide substantive argument that there were opportunities for Australian industry in the design and procurement stages as well as throughout the life of the project.

The EPBS concessions were approved and the client claimed refunds of approximately $2.5 million and was only required to pay duty on minor components which were not eligible for the duty concessions.

We also recently completed an AIP Plan for a client which was a compulsory requirement for companies tendering for construction of the new Perth Stadium.

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Customs valuation and cross-border transactions

Identifying the correct 'import sales transaction' or eliminating those 'contracts of sale' which serve little or no purpose for establishing a 'customs value' is essential in cross-border transaction planning. We frequently undertake these studies whereby we legitimately reduce the 'customs value' on which customs duty is calculated and paid.

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Cleaner fuel grants

A client was being supplied underbond ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) by one of the majors which included a renewable diesel component.

We prepared and lodged a private ruling application for the client. It received approval to claim a cleaner fuel grant of up to 20% of the excise duty payable on the total volume of ULSD, in addition to a biodiesel grant, when it in-line blended the ULSD with B100 biodiesel.

The cleaner fuel grant provided the client with an unexpected windfall in excess of $350,000 per month and improved its profitability on sales.

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Direct consignment rules in Free Trade Agreements

A US manufactured viscous liquid solvent being imported into Australia was ruled ineligible under the 'direct consignment' criterion of the FTA between Australia and the US (AUSFTA).

Under this rule, products transported through a country other than the US or Australia and which undergo any process of production in that country (other than unloading, reloading, any operation to preserve them in good condition or any operation that is necessary for them to be transported to Australia) are ineligible for the concession.

The product was bulk-shipped from the US to an intermediate country, being the Asian hub for the US manufacturer. There, it was pumped from the bulk vessel into a holding tank at the port before then being pumped from the holding tank into 170 litre drums when the Australian client placed small orders on the US manufacturer.

We successfully argued that the drumming operation at the Asian hub was necessary for the product to be transported to Australia so the product retained its US origin status. This  entitled the client to a $500,000 refund of customs duty.  

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Rules of origin in Free Trade Agreements

Spectacles produced in a south-east Asian country from lenses manufactured in that country with 'non-originating' frames sourced from country Z  did not comply with the 'rules of origin' criteria under the FTA 'rules of origin' between Australia and the south-east Asian country so were ineligible for a customs duty concession.

However, we confirmed that the spectacles met the 'rules of origin' criteria under the FTA between Australia and the ten ASEAN countries so the client was entitled to use this alternative FTA in order to reduce the 5% customs duty on spectacles imported into Australia to 0%.    

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TCO eligibility

Imported synthetic beads were ruled ineligible for a Tariff Concession Order which had been drafted with tolerances which the industry did not generally use in specifying these types of products. Working with the client, we produced evidence that the beads matched the tolerances and the client claimed a customs duty refund in excess of $400,000.

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Representation in reviewing administrative decisions 

We lodged a TCO application for specialised equipment that a large mining company was importing for one of its projects on the basis that substitutable goods were not produced in Australia in the ordinary course of business.

An Australian company lodged an objection to this application claiming it did produce such equipment and our application was rejected.

However, we appealed the decision and through representation and the lodging of a number of submissions, we provided sufficient facts indicating that the claim by the Australian objector could not be substantiated. Subsequently, the decision to reject our application was reversed.

Once the TCO was made, our client was entitled to a refund of $2.2 million in customs duty it had paid in the interim to clear the goods for home consumption.

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