Thailand hosted the third TAFTA Joint Commission meeting on 21 June 2012 in Bangkok. The Joint Commission meeting resulted in progress towards the two reviews mandated under TAFTA – a general review and a review of its provisions on special agricultural safeguards – and improved implementation procedures.
The reviews were progressed by officials in 2013 with meetings of the TAFTA Expert Group on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Food Standards (15-16 July) and Market Access Implementing Committee (26 July).
The Experts Group meeting provided a platform for Thailand and Australia to discuss their respective market access priorities. Australia presented information to support more favourable import protocols for fresh fruit exports to Thailand. As a result, officials from Thailand's Department of Agriculture agreed to participate in a workshop in Brisbane on technical biosecurity protocols relevant to Australia's horticulture exports.
One outcome of the Market Access Implementing Committee meeting was an agreement to move towards the use of electronic signatures and seals on TAFTA certificates of origin (COOs) from 1 September 2013. The new procedures for using electronic signatures and seals make the COO process easier for Australian exporters and authorised bodies as they can create and complete COOs electronically, as well as email them to their importing counterparts in Thailand to be made available to Thai Customs.
TAFTA and Changes to the Tariff Classification System (HS2012)
In 2012, changes were be made to Australia's tariff structure to reflect the latest five yearly amendments to an International Convention for classifying goods for trade purposes – known as HS2012.
The HS2012 changes impact on tariff classifications, Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Classifications (AHECC) and Rules of Origin.
HS2012 changes will not affect the tariff rates under the TAFTA.
Advice for importers and exporters arising from HS2012 can be obtained from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service [external DOC]