Importing Glasshouses - Tariff Concession Revocation

Importing Glasshouses - Tariff Concession Revocation from Curlett Cannon & Galbell Pty Ltd

By: Curlett Cannon & Galbell Pty Ltd  04-Jul-2012
Keywords: Supply Chain Management, Import, Customs

Open Letter to Growers Who Are Importing Glasshouses by Carl Van Loon

Tariffs exist to help local manufacturers and protect local jobs. If there are no local manufacturers left), then a Tariff Concession may be applied for by end users. From 1993 until 2012, a Tariff Concession has been in place for “GREENHOUSE, computerised, creating controlled artificial environment for the growing of plants” (TC 9308839).

This TC could only be used by growers when the entire project would be sent in one shipment from the same port at the same time. This is almost never the case anymore as the glass usually comes from China and the structure from Holland. Usually the glasshouse itself is shipped in multiple shipments and this disqualifies its use as well.

This TC may have been used illegally by growers to gain Import Duty Exemption on not only the Glasshouse, but all the internal systems as well.

At Powerplants, we have to pay Import Duty on hundreds of components that go into Greenhouse Climate Control Systems like Thermal Screens, and it is extremely expensive and impractical to apply for TCs for all of these components. We must then compete with imported systems where no Import Duty is paid under TC 9308839. So we are actually at a disadvantage compared to socalled Turnkey suppliers. This is nowhere near a level playing field.

We would prefer that there was no Import Duty for the entire industry, and this would be fair, but until now, our own laws have actually disadvantaged us. Therefore Powerplants has had this Tariff Concession revoked. These days, every % counts and we missed out on a project recently because of less than 5% difference in price. We cannot afford to be disadvantaged by the very system that is meant to protect Australian Manufacturers from Dumping by large overseas companies.

Powerplants does not build glasshouses and is not aiming to make glasshouses cost more; in fact there are two Tariff Concessions that still apply to Glasshouse components that are legal even in the case of multiple shipments and different countries of origin. They are TC 1115902 and TC 1028503 and are courtesy of Como Glasshouse (d’Vineripe). They and most others have done the right thing.

If Tariff Concessions are used illegally, the importer may get away with it, but if caught, is liable for a fine of triple the amount of the Import Duty that was initially avoided. This happens regularly and Australian Customs is very well resourced, and like the Tax Office, will eventually catch up with offenders. Unless you have the stomach for high risk, it is advisable to follow the rules.

On a positive note, if you have paid Import Duty on anything in the last 4 years, there is a service available where your records can be comprehensively checked against the thousands of existing Tariff Concessions, and if you have paid Import Duty unnecessarily, a refund from Customs will be issued. I can highly recommend this process and the fee is taken from the refund, so there is no risk in doing it. The Company we used is Curlett Cannon & Galbell Pty Ltd, Ph (03) 9330-2122.
Our contact was Tony Bell and they are based in Melbourne.

Powerplants imports Thermal Screens from Svensson and Climate Controls from Priva and we also add a great deal of local value with our custom designed Fertigation, Water Treatment, Electrical Panels, Greenhouse Trolleys, Installation and Support. We employ 27 Australians in medium to high technology jobs.

Best regards,
 Carl van Loon
Director Powerplants Australia
Ph: 03 8795 7750
www.powerplants.com.au
 
Editors note:
The PCA Board invited Carl van Loon to a recent Board meeting to help us understand the background to why PowerPlants Australia requested this revocation of a Tariff Concession. This revocation resulted in a number of concerned industry members contacting the PCA for an explanation as they felt they may become subject to a cost penalty for their new projects. We invited Carl to submit an explanatory letter (published here) so that all industry members are fully appraised of the underlying reasons and able to make their own assessment.

Article reproduced in full here with special thanks to PCA’s Saskia Blanch,  Company Secretary – Editor and Carl van Loon,  Director - Powerplants Australia

PUBLICATION Open Letter to Growers Who Are Importing Glasshouse  
Source: Soilless Australia Volume 1, 2012 Autumn, page 11

Keywords: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Customs Services, Concessions, Customs, Customs Import Duties, Duty Concessions, Import, Import Tariff, Supply Chain Management, Tariff Classifications,

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