Tariff Classification Orders
Tariff Classification Orders, perhaps should have been called “ To Cut Our Industries.”
Until recently Australia's trade policies, and their full impacts, were relatively unknown and even less understood. Of course Australians read the headlines, but many in even the most investigative media simply didn't see or understand a small action, taken by Customs, to implement what was at the time disguised as a move to satisfy customer demand for goods. Trade policies by successive federal governments have taken their toll. In their relentless push to LEVEL the playing field and open Australia to free trade from other nations the bureaucrats have implemented policies and agreements that have undermined, and even bankrupted many Australian industries before Australia enjoyed any similar benefit trading with these nations has taken its toll. Free trade is a glib policy that catches headlines, but its implementation could not be considered `free' for it has come at too great a cost.
This was no surprise to a few who opposed aspects of trade policies, which as far back as the early 1980's were seen to have adverse consequences.
In summary, once issued, a TCO allowed anyone to import the product. free. The effect of such a policy was that manufacturers would wind down their production and advise their customers they could not meet supply. The customer could then apply for a TCO to allow them to import a product free. Once the TCO was issued the manufacturer who had advised the customer of product supply difficulties could then also use that TCO to import the product free.
Consequently the manufacturer's Australian manufacturing ceased, he became an importer, of the same product, could sack his staff down to a skeleton staff in a warehouse and continued to sell his product at the same price but at a massively reduced overhead ie. low overseas labour costs.
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This also resulted in many goods then imported from a sweat shop cheap labour manufacturing plant somewhere overseas, with the loss of Australian jobs and benefits to our nation.
many times) because of the inadequacies of Customs, goods imported no longer met
Australian standards but because of self regulation policies governments have
implemented in their reckless pursuit of government departmental efficiencies at
all costs. This resulted in few checks, lack of effective control and no
effective protection of the Australian community.
Unfortunately some bureaucrats did not see or publicly debate the dire consequences and politicians pursued the easy option internationally and literally caved in when negotiating with the international community. It is unfortunate that they still do not recognise that these trade policies have more than a primary impact. Job losses, bankruptcies and entire communities devastated and that was just the beginning. Secondary and tertiary impacts on Australian industries were not unseen, but the warnings went unheeded in the push to be a trading partner with no barriers to other countries to export their products to us even if they had not removed their import barriers to our Australian products.
Tariff Classification Orders allowed, on application, tariffs to be removed and the free import of products to be undertaken. At that point it was clear to some that Australian manufacturing industries would have to compete with the cheapest producers worldwide, ON AN UNEQUAL FOOTING. However T.C.O.'s were never revoked.
The procedures for Customs to cancel, or withdraw, Tariff Classification Orders were so flawed and so big were some of the rorts of this system as they were referred to euphemistically by Customs officers as `The `Irish' tariff (issued on green paper) which became bigger than the actual Customs Tariff (protection) Act.
compounding of the problem didn't stop there.
Because Customs (* see note below) had restructured itself into a `complete' Customs officer concept work function internal administrative problems arose. With the continual rotation of officers, goods not subject a tariff classification order were being imported in some ports as though they were subject to the order
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simply because that port had no officers with sufficient knowledge to be able to determine one way or another.
So much so, was this a problem, the Australian Law Society, headed up by Darryl Williams (The current Federal Attordey General), sought to have classification responsibilities, and related matters, taken from Customs and vested with legal people. The net result of this snowballing problem has resulted in no Australian manufacturing industries at all, to speak of. There is now greater concern about this problem and other politicians are wondering what to do to assist employment and industry programs, but fail to see the link between their unrelenting push for free trade at all costs, and the terrible costs paid by the Australian people with;
Unemployment, hardship, lowered standards of living for Australians.
. . . little or no community protection (which includes problems such as drugs, disease, migration, and so on.) This was a problem with the effectiveness of Customs, and is one reason we have called for a Royal Commission into the effectiveness of Customs.
To our dismay, Customs remains a clerical and administrative organisation with no separate branch for law enforcement, and is ineffective in carrying out the community's expectation of community protection.
[ NSW CUSTOMS OFFICERS ASSOCIATION ]
Gats is an agreement in Trades and Services
The truth about Gats is, it has been a bi-partisan cover-up by the Howard. Government, in tandem with the Crean Labor opposition, the Greens and the Australian Democrats. Since 1994, when the Keating Government first, placed Gats on their agenda, and to this day Gats has never been debated in Parliament, and what's more, has been deviously hidden from the Australian public.
Gats is an agreement signed by participating Countries who can tender for Trade in Services, with the successful bidder given the right to import his one dollar an hour workers plus materials and equipment, enabling them to fulfill their contract. There is no mechanism in place to appeal any decision.
With the exception of the Police and Defence Forces, every other position will be open for tender, including Retail Staff, I.T., Labourers, Professionals, i.e. Medical Staff, Accountants, Brick Layers and the Legal Field.
Services that will be controlled by Foreign Countries are Water, Electricity, Gas, Petroleum, Telecommunications, Hospitals, Prisons, building and the Hospitality industry, among many others.
Why has the Menzies Bill, the "Dual Reciprocation Tax Act" that was passed in November 1953 with only two dissenters, has never been debated by the four major Parties with the intention to rescind this Act. This Act allows Foreign Companies in Australia to pay little or no tax which, with the signing off of Gats by the Federal Government, has ensured that winning tenderers will only pay tax to their Country of Origin.