The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) has been in effect since 1 January 2005, giving Australian companies significantly improved access to the largest consumer market in the world, with around 295 million people and one-third of the globe's GDP.
What is the AUSFTA?
The AUSFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement, which addresses the key aspects of bilateral trade in goods and services, as well as bilateral investment flows, and seeks to move our two economies towards further economic integration. As such, the agreement also includes chapters on government procurement, harmonisation or mutual recognition of technical standards, customs cooperation, safeguards, electronic commerce, and protection of intellectual property rights.
The agreement delivers:
Specifically for industrial goods:
Accessing reduced tariffs under the AUSFTA
Exporters must qualify for preferential tariffs. AUSFTA will deliver Australian exporters with unprecedented access to the US market. Among other access improvements, the US will eliminate its tariffs on Australian originating goods.
New processes to qualify for preferential tariff treatment
Reduced or zero tariffs will only be available to those companies that can prove they qualify for preferential tariff treatment, by undertaking the following steps.
Ensure the products being exported meet their rule of origin test(s).
Obtain and retain documentary proof of the goods' originating status.
Confirming originating status of your goods
If you wish to access preferential tariffs for your goods, the next step is to confirm whether they qualify as originating Australian goods. The DFAT publication 'A Guide to Determining the Origin of Goods under AUSFTA' will step you through this process.
Exporters are required to maintain, for up to five years after the date of export, records necessary to demonstrate that a good qualifies as an originating good. A certificate of origin is not required. The evidence must simply show that the goods meet the rules of origin requirements of AUSFTA.
Penalties for non-compliance
If either Customs authority finds that originating status is not applicable or that there is insufficient information to justify the claim for preferential rates of duty, extra duty will be payable. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be liable for additional penalties under the relevant jurisdiction's Customs Act.
Contact Ai Group for more information by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 55 66 77.
US Government procurement
Ai Group and Australian GSA Schedules P/L (AGSAS) are working together to promote exporting opportunities to the US Government market as a result of the AUSFTA. AGSAS is an Australian-based firm that provides a listing service for Australian companies wanting to have their products listed on the much-coveted General Services Administration's (GSA) Schedule contracts as well as expert US government contract advisory and assistance services to companies selling into the US federal and sate government markets.
AGSAS has recently commenced publication of its monthly newsletter US Government Contracts Report that contains a range of useful and practical information for Australian exporters interested in accessing the $200 billion per year US government market. It's Featured Articles, News You Can Use, Selling Regulations You Need to Know, and Useful Links sections are a must read for any exporter interested in penetrating this new market. Subscribe to this valuable exporting tool.
The United States Embassy in Canberra has offered to help Ai Group members engaged in the US or considering business or study there with a range of free services.
The embassy is also planning to further upgrade its services during 2009. It currently offers Ai Group members the following services: