A domestic accreditation framework has been established to authorize bodies to issue Certificates of Origin (CoO) under those Australian Free Trade Agreements which require the use of Certificates of Origin issued by an authorized body.
The Australian Government has negotiated a number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which aim to promote stronger trade and commercial ties with FTA partner(s), and open up opportunities for exporters and investors to expand their business interests in those markets.
A key feature of these FTAs is the inclusion of commitments on the reduction and elimination of tariffs on products that meet the Rules of Origin (ROO) requirements of the relevant FTA. The ROO requirements differ in varying degrees between different FTAs, but share the common purpose of providing the basis for determining which goods will qualify for the tariff commitments contained in the relevant FTA. A central aim of the ROO requirements is to ensure that materials imported from non-Parties to a particular FTA partner are "substantially transformed" prior to trade between the FTA partners.
In some cases, in order to access those negotiated tariff commitments, the FTA requires exporters to obtain a certificate of origin (CoO) from an authorized body to confirm that the goods being exported comply with the relevant ROO requirements. Certificates of Origin are required under Australia's existing Free Trade Agreements with Thailand and Singapore and under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which entered into force on 1 January 2010.
The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). JAS-ANZ will be responsible for the administration of the CoO Scheme, including decisions relating to the accreditation of bodies to issue CoO for relevant Australian FTAs. Following accreditation by JAS-ANZ, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will undertake necessary steps in accordance with the requirements of relevant FTA's to designate Authorized Bodies to issue CoO under those FTAs.
Details of the accreditation process and relevant documents are available on the JAS-ANZ website.
The CoO Scheme only applies to the issue of CoO under FTAs that require exporters to obtain CoO from an Authorized Body. It does not apply to FTAs that do not require the use of CoO (e.g. the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement or the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement), or which provide for declarations by exporters or their agents rather than for CoO issued by authorized bodies (e.g. the Australia-Chile FTA). It also does not apply to the issuing of non-preferential certificates of origin, which are widely used in trade to facilitate customs clearance or to meet commercial requirements.
The CoO Scheme will be subject to periodic review. Such reviews will be initiated by the Government to review the effectiveness of the CoO Scheme and take account of any changes to the normative references in the CoO Scheme, or any new FTA CoO obligations.
Pending decisions on accreditation of bodies under the Scheme, the only bodies authorised to issue Certificates of Origin under the AANZFTA, and Australia's Free Trade Agreements with Singapore (SAFTA) and Thailand (TAFTA), are the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Australian Industry Group (AiG).