Leonie Ferretter and Melissa McCosker discuss country of origin labelling requirements for the sale of goods in Australia.
Country of origin labelling requirements for the sale of goods in Australia were simplified in February 2017 with the introduction of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Act 2017 (Cth). The amendment applies to any products sold in Australia for consumer consumption and clarifies the conditions of the substantial transformation test.
The requirements, set out in the Competition and Consumer Act necessitate a calculation of the country of origin for significant ingredients or components of goods that occur in the country of manufacture or production.
There are now a number of competing pieces of import legislation that importers are required to comply with. These include, the Commerce (Trade Description) Act 1905 (Cth), Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Act 1991 (Cth) and the Customs Act 1901 (Cth), including preferential and non-preferential rules of origin and free trade rules of origin.
Call in the Referee – a difficulty for players in the importing space is that the Competition and Consumer Act rules do not necessarily align with the rules of origin in all pieces of legislation. The State of Origin has never been an easy game to play, however it is one that all importers must navigate with a clear head and true understanding of the rules, much like the players on the field.
It is important to be mindful that despite the clarity afforded to the Australian Consumer Law, the stricter Customs Act standards will apply to importers seeking to utilise preferential duty rates under a trade agreement, and statements of origin on import declarations. This means that the facts for determining origin for labelling purposes may be different to facts applied to determine origin for customs purposes.
When in doubt about which to laws apply at what time, the video referee can help.