Australia - United States Free Trade

Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement - Guide to the Agreement

6. Customs Administration

1.    Purpose and structure

This Chapter deals with Customs administration and cooperation and comprises 11 articles including advance rulings, reviews of Customs decisions, cooperation between the Parties to achieve compliance, penalties for violations, the release of goods, and express shipments.

2.    Publication of Customs laws and regulations

(Article 6.1)

This article provides for the prompt publication of laws, regulations, guidelines procedures and administrative rulings governing customs matters.

3.    Administration (Article 6.2)

Each Party is obliged to administer its customs laws in a uniform, impartial and reasonable manner, and in a way that does not create arbitrary or unwarranted obstacles to trade.

4.    Advance Rulings (Article 6.3)

Advance rulings on tariff classifications and rules of origin are to be provided in writing and within 120 days after obtaining all necessary information.  

5.    Reviews of Customs determinations (Article 6.4)

Customs authorities are required to provide at least one level of administrative review of their determinations.   The option of a judicial review, following the administrative review, must also be provided.

6.    Cooperation (Article 6.5)

This article provides for the cooperation between Customs authorities on a wide range of customs matters.   In particular, the Article sets out the obligations of a Party to provide information on particular trade transactions when the other Party has a reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity relating to its imports laws and regulations.  

7.    Confidentiality (Article 6.6)

Confidential information shared between the Party's Customs authorities is to be protected in accordance with the general confidentiality provisions in Chapter 22 (Article 22.4).  

8.    Penalties (Article 6.7)

This Article provides for Customs authorities to impose their respective penalties for violations of their customs' laws and regulations.

9.    Release of Goods (Article 6.8)

This Article provides for the prompt release of goods consistent with ensuring compliance with customs laws, including the provision of a security as a condition for release of goods.

10.   Risk Assessment (Article 6.9)

Customs authorities are to apply risk management systems to ensure they concentrate on high-risk areas of trade and facilitate low-risk areas of trade.

11.   Express Shipments (Article 6.10)

This Article requires Customs authorities to maintain expedited procedures for the handling of express shipments.

March 6, 2004

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