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How to get free trade agreement tariff cuts

Australia's free trade agreements (FTAs) cut tariffs – the taxes and duties that businesses pay on the goods they import or export. But businesses don't always get the tariff cuts associated with FTAs automatically. There are a few steps exporters and importers of goods need to consider to prove the product they're exporting or importing originates in one of the countries in the FTA. The following explains the steps involved and where to go for more information and assistance.

Step 1: Check the FTA Portal to see what tariffs apply (if any)

A lot of international trade already occurs without tariffs being applied, so you should first determine if these FTAs cut the tariff that usually applies to your product. Traded products are classified using an internationally-recognised system known as the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding system, or 'HS code'.

Using DFAT's FTA Portal – – type in key words about your product (or HS code if you already know it) and the North Asia FTA partner country to which you are exporting. The Portal will provide guidance on the likely applicable tariff rate under the FTA you've selected.

Note: the FTA Portal is intended as a guide only. Ultimately, the decision around the HS classification of the good and the tariff rate that will apply is made by the importing country's customs authority.

Step 2: Assess if your product meets the FTA's rules of origin

Once you've searched and found your product on the Portal, click on the 'rules of origin' tab. This will take you through a step-by-step process to assess if your product is likely to meet the rules of origin requirements of the FTA you're planning to export under.To check if your product meets the rules of origin for an FTA:

  1. Find your product on the FTA Portal.

  2. Click on the 'Rules of Origin' tab.

  3. Answer a few simple questions to determine whether your product is is likely to meet the rules of origin requirements of the FTA you're planning to export under.

Step 3: Get a certificate or declaration of origin to accompany your goods

Once your assessment is complete, click on the 'certify' tab of the Portal. If you need to get an FTA-specific certificate/declaration of origin (COO/DOO), this document will identify the goods you are exporting and certify that they meet the FTA's rules of origin requirements. It will be used (when the good arrives) by the importing country's customs authority to determine eligibility for preferential tariff treatment.

Different FTAs require different processes for obtaining a COO/DOO. Most commonly, businesses obtain certification through an authorised certifying body (COO); some FTAs also allow you to self-certify (DOO).

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