Additional flights have been arranged through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM)
There is capacity inbound from Auckland, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Narita) and Singapore in which medical supplies will be prioritised. We encourage you to please share this information with your members as soon as possible.
Members will need to work with their freight forwarders in order to access freight space. If members require additional assistance and suggestions of freight forwarders based with medical and market expertise, Austrade is able to provide this. ACCI will be updating the network regularly as new flight routes become available. We ask that you please share with your members promptly.
TGA Advice on the regulation and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks
Please find attached a response from the Therapeutic Goods Administration from the Extraordinary NCTF and TFIWG COVID-19 teleconference held on 25 March 2020 on approval requirements for medical equipment (PPE, Masks etc) and medical consumables. Members reported concerns that TGA required containers to be approved and retail containers and products must match.
Modern Slavery Reporting
The Australian Government has extended the deadline for entities due to lodge statements in 2020 under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (the Act) by three months. The Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs has announced this decision via Media Release and additional information is available on online.
Tracking of COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures
The International Trade Centre has published an online page to provide a global daily update of enacted COVID-19 trade measures. The objective of this initiative is to improve transparency in international trade and market access in line with the mission of Market Access Map.
Governments are swiftly enacting temporary trade measures that aim to restrict exports of vital medical supplies and to liberalize imports of vital medical supplies.
We urge users to take these measures into account when consulting market access information throughout Market Access Map.
The COVID-19 dashboard is structured in three sections:
- a global map of all countries that have adopted export or import measures related to the pandemic
- a live tracker of measures adopted in the last 24 hours, updated at 18:00 (GMT+1) daily
- a detailed table documenting all countries and the corresponding measures, with the original government decrees provided in the national language
The emergency measures apply on top of standard market access measures, such as customs tariffs, trade remedies, and non-tariff requirements, which are already accessible through Market Access Map databases at www.macmap.org .
Paracetamol Export Ban lifted
We are pleased to report that following advocacy from the Australian Chamber, DFAT has secured Australia’s supply of paracetamol after India decided to remove it from a list of export bans being applied due to local policies dealing with COVID-19. The announcement can be seen below.
Modern Slavery Compliance Update
Australian Border Force has released an online information sheet for reporting entities under the Modern Slavery Act about the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The information sheet provides guidance for entities impacted by COVID-19 about how to report under the Modern Slavery Act, including how to address the impact of COVID-19 in a modern slavery statement.
Freight and supply chain issues
The Government recently announced the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism to help exporters get their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back items critical to the ongoing health response. This includes vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
Expressions of interest should be directed here.
The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is working with Austrade and other Australian Government departments to assist Australian importers and exporters in identifying available international air freight opportunities.
To support Australian importers and exporters, Qantas and Virgin Australia are offering air freight capacity on repatriation international passenger services to and from Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, from Thursday 9 April 2020.
While these services are limited, this will give Australian producers a way to obtain valuable inputs for their businesses. The return flights to Australia will bring in vital medicines, medical supplies and equipment to support Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The confirmed international flights will operate for approximately 4 weeks. We are currently working with Government to extend and expand these flight options to more destinations.
In addition, 55 commercial freight-only flights have also been scheduled for April, totalling 540 services for this month. Austrade advise that the best way to access these flights is to utilise your standard freight operations channels, including your Freight Forwarder. The Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia Inc. (CBFCA) represents members interests in international trade logistics and supply chain management service provision.
You can refer to this link to help you find a freight forwarder.
The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) also has a member directory that can be searched through this link.
For information on the Australian Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism to back Australia’s agriculture and seafood export sectors, visit: https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/international-freight-assistance.
For any further information please contact the Transport and Freight Taskforce.
PPE Supply Shortages
The Federal Government is currently mobilising industry in response to the surge in demand for critical medical and health equipment amidst the evolving COVID-19 health crisis. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has created the Health Industry Coordination Group led by Glenys Beauchamp.
ACCI alongside other member organisations and broader stakeholders are providing further information to the Health Industry Coordination Group including a map of critical supply and production constraints, opportunities and barriers and anticipated delivery dates and timelines. There are four working groups focusing on different medical supply areas: personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilator supply and production, testing kits and ICU beds.
Manufacturer Response Register
The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) is currently supporting a nationally coordinated response effort by mapping health and medical related manufacturing capability in Australia. The AMGC has created the COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register to capture expressions of interest from Australian based manufacturers and individuals looking to assist with supply of goods, services or knowledge in tackling the current COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. The AMGC aims to contact all interested parties should any of the detailed capabilities fit with a project or initiative.
ICC and WHO launch worldwide business survey to improve COVID-19 information flows
In response to COVID-19, ICC and WHO are surveying the private sector to gather more information about global business responses and develop solutions that will address the spread of the pandemic. The ICC-WHO survey will improve information flows between different sectors of the global economy and develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic’s spread.
The survey is the latest step in ICC and WHO’s unique collaboration to provide reliable COVID-19-related information to the private sector and develop trusted guidance for business communities around the world. As part of an initial joint statement, ICC and WHO called upon national governments to adopt a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICC-WHO survey is designed to only take a few minutes and can be found here.
AusNCP releases OECD Guidelines checklist for Covid-19
The Australian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises is currently monitoring the progress of COVID-19 and how this impacts our daily business. Businesses are encouraged to utilise our new OECD Guidelines summary checklist as a tool to support high-quality decisions during this period of social and economic change.
Free trade essential to global standards of living
Download the joint statement from the Trade ministers from Australia, NZ, Singapore and the UK, published April 28.
AUSTRADE webinar recording – regulatory update – PPE and medical product export requirements in China
For those who have an interest in exporting PPE and medical products from China, there have been some recent changes to the regulatory settings you should be aware of.
The webinar is also an opportunity to hear from the Australian Government representatives in China, as well as the latest information about Australia’s import regulations and processes. Watch the webinar
For all the latest information to help Australian businesses overcome complex and fast-evolving COVID-19 challenges – visit www.austrade.gov.au/news/news/novel-coronavirus
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has announced a temporary elimination of customs duties on certain imported medical and hygiene products essential to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic through a new item in the 4th Schedule to Customs Tariff Act 1995.
Details of the new Item (concessional item 57) are in Australian Customs Notice (ACN) 2020/20 which gives guidance on claiming the concession and the scope of goods covered by the related by-law.
ACN 2020/20 including the tariff working pages for the item and the by-law is at https://www.abf.gov.au/help-and-support-subsite/CustomsNotices/2020-20.pdf
Concessional Item 57 has been designed to be as broad as possible to ensure the majority of goods required to respond to the current COVID‑19 pandemic can be imported free of customs duty.
The non-exhaustive list of tariff classifications, provided in ACN 2020/20, is to help identify prescribed goods. Some goods classified to these subheadings will not be eligible, as they do not satisfy the criteria of Item 57 and the by-law. Equally, there may be other goods classified to subheadings not listed that will be eligible for concessional treatment under Item 57.
All importers must be able to provide a justification that the goods claimed under Item 57 meet the criteria specified in the item and prescribed by-law, if requested to do so by the ABF.
Any questions on using the new customs duty concession can be directed to email@example.com
International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) webinars
There are two International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) webinar recordings available for viewing:
24 April 2020 – IFAM Briefing session for exporters
Tim Beresford, Deputy CEO Austrade and Michael Byrne, the IFAM Co-Ordinator General held an information session for exporters. The session covered the aim and objectives of IFAM, how it works and provided answers to questions submitted by participants. Listen to briefing
28 April 2020 – IFAM Briefing session for Freight Forwarders
Tim Beresford, Deputy CEO Austrade and Michael Byrne, the IFAM Co-Ordinator General held an information session for Freight Forwarders. The session covered the aim and objectives of IFAM, how the IFAM panel of providers was established and how all Freight Forwarders can support exporters under the mechanism. The briefing also answered questions submitted by participants. Listen to briefing
Note the briefing commences around 9 mins into the recording.
For more information on IFAM and where these and future webinars may be posted, visit: https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/news/international-freight-assistance-mechanism.
Update - Foreign Investment Review Board operations under COVID-19
On Sunday 29 March 2020, the Treasurer announced two temporary changes to Australia’s foreign investment framework: all proposed foreign investments subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) would require approval, regardless of value; and to ensure sufficient time for screening applications, the FIRB would work with existing and new applicants to extend timeframes for reviewing applications from 30 days to up to six months.
Australia continues to welcome and be open to foreign investment. Foreign investment will play a critical role in Australia’s recovery from this crisis – just as it has been critical to our long-term prosperity.
FIRB has Q&As posted on the FIRB website. More will be addressed through an imminent update to the website’s guidance notes.
To deal with the expected substantial increase in applications, FIRB are triaging cases using a risk-based approach and have brought on additional staff to manage the workload.
Finally, many investments that did not previously require screening now do. It is the responsibility of investors to understand how and if the framework applies to them, and to comply with it. If unsure, foreign investors should seek legal advice.
Further information about the foreign investment framework, including these temporary measures, is available on the FIRB website. If investors or their advisers have further questions, they should not hesitate to contact FIRB by calling +61 2 6263 3795 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial support to help Australian exporters bounce back
Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia.
The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources.
In addition to the COVID-19 Export Capital Facility, Export Finance Australia will also provide assistance to its existing customers through access to credit and financial relief.
For more information on Export Finance Australia, including how to apply for finance, visit the website or read the fact sheet below.
Exporter support package
Announced by Government: Earlier today, we announced that we are backing Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and tourism exporters through a $170 million support package.
With worldwide travel restrictions and reductions in air passenger movements, the availability of air freight capacity to and from Australia has significantly reduced.
We need to re-establish supply chains for our exporters and keep freight routes open which is crucial to getting our export sector back on its feet; helping to reduce job losses and support our economic recovery.
The package includes a $110 million initiative to help get high-quality produce into key overseas markets through the facilitation of freight flights, with return flights to bring back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
We are also injecting an extra $49.8 million into the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program in the 2019-20 financial year to allow exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
Additionally, around $10 million in Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) levies will also be waived for all Commonwealth fishers, ensuring they do not have to pay Commonwealth levies for the remainder of 2020.
The initiative is part of the Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Are you an exporter? Have your say here
Funding boost to support Australian exporters and tourism businesses
The Morrison Government will inject an extra $49.8 million into the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.
ACCI has consistently lobbied hard for the EMDG to be lifted to $200 million annually and the Government has now added $49.8 million to bring EMDG funding to $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year.
Any business which has incurred eligible EMDG expenses for promotional activities in 2019-20 financial year will be able to seek reimbursement for 50 per cent of these expenses without the Export Performance Test applying, when they apply from July 1.
Additionally, applications lodged in the 2020-21 financial year can claim expenses even if events have been cancelled due to circumstances beyond a business’s control.
Further information on the EMDG scheme and how to apply can be found here.
The ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation met by teleconference Monday night and urged the ICC to hold G20 nations to account on barriers to trade in the current crisis. ICC also intends to create online information about humanitarian needs and national measures relating to trade issues. They intend to seek input from National Committees from around the world about the circumstances facing each nation, along with accepting reform ideas and examples of best practices – for example Canada has a standing order for preferential treatment of medical supplies imports.
Concerns were also raised that relaxed conditions to fight the COVID 19 crisis, also created opportunities for criminal behaviour and so there is a need for vigilance along supply chain to ensure that are not infiltrated for criminal purposes.
The discussion also included consideration of longer term reform opportunities once the crisis is averted, such as complete tariff abolition.
COVID-19 - WCO updates
The World Customs Organizations has established a COVID19 section of its website.
This section of the WCO web-site is designed to compile information about the instruments, tools, initiatives and databases that can be utilized in the efforts to address the various COVID-19-related challenges faced by our Members and their stakeholders worldwide.
Included within the section is a list of national legislation* of countries that adopted temporary export restrictions on certain categories of critical medical supplies in response to COVID-19.
The site also includes a handy guide to the Harmonised System Codes for medical supplies - HS Classification reference for Covid-19 medical supplies
Today, Monday 30th March, the Australian Government implemented a temporary prohibition on the non-commercial export of certain goods that contribute to controlling and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The temporary prohibition applies to:
- personal protective equipment in the form of disposable face masks, disposable gloves, disposable gowns, protective eye wear in the form of goggles, glasses or visors, which can be worn by individuals to limit the transmission of organisms; and
- alcohol wipes and sanitiser.
Please note that this does not apply to commercial exports, to those that previously exported those types of goods in the course of their ordinary business, or to Australian manufacturers of the goods. A limited number of other exemptions also apply.
Further information on the prohibition is provided at the below links:
ICC Letter to G20 Trade Ministers
The global response to COVID-19 has begun to accelerate this week with the G20 holding its first ever “virtual summit” on Thursday. The G20 leaders’ commitment to ensure the free flow of medical equipment, in particular, was especially welcome – but actions now must follow words.
Yesterday, John Denton wrote to G20 Trade Ministers ahead of their meeting on Monday 30 March, with a roadmap for G20 countries to use trade policy to fight COVID-19 and rebuild the future. In the letter, ICC outlines 10 concrete ideas for trade ministers with three core goals in mind – to speed the health response to COVID-19, to keep trade flowing to restore growth and safeguard jobs, and to maintain momentum on reform of the trading system.
COVID-19 AIR CARGO BULLETIN BOARD
Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) in these times of airline uncertainty, has launched a COVID-19 Air Cargo Bulletin Board to allow freight forwarders to list flights they have chartered.
International Chamber of Commerce resources
We are pleased to notify you of the ICC Call to Action on COVID-19 and Competition developed by the Commission on Competition in line with ICC commitments to help chart an effective international response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ICC Call to Action is aimed at governments and competition agencies alike. Its objective is two-fold: (i) to minimise the negative economic crisis on economies, markets and consumers in the short to medium term, and, more fundamentally (ii) to protect the structure of economies and the competitive fabric of markets in the longer term to confront the economic challenges that lie ahead.
ICC has issued an easy reference, downloadable guide to good business practices that help protect employees, customers and local communities—and ultimately make businesses more resilient during this difficult period.
Tools for negotiating and drafting future contracts
ICC has approved the the ICC Force Majeure + Hardship Clauses 2020. The ICC Force Majeure and Hardship Clauses balance business people’s legitimate expectations of performance with the reality that circumstances change, making performance so hard that the contracts simply must change. The new 2020 clauses update the 2003 versions, reflecting the need for simpler presentation and expanded options to suit various companies’ needs. On the Hardship Clause side, the updated model features 3 options to cater for a range of situations in which parties seek amendment or termination of their contract.
ICC has taken several initiatives to lead and engage the business response to COVID-19. In this regard, the ICC is mobilising all the knowledge and expertise across the organisation and network to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to draw your attention to some of the steps taken by ICC to help fight this pandemic:
- ICC issues guidance paper on impact of covid-19 on ICC Trade Finance rules
- ICC’s memo to governments and Central Banks to promote adoptions of electronic documents and to invite governments to clear the local legal environment in that respect
- ICC publishes COVID-19 Business Continuity Guide
- ICC launches a call for urgent action to Save Our SMEs
- ICC issues 10-point plan for G20 trade ministers to speed response to COVID-19
- ICC issues guide to help businesses to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace
- ICC, B20, WHO issue open letter to G20 leaders
- ICC and ITUC unite in call for international cooperation on COVID-19
- ICC and WHO join forces to mobilise business action to curb spread of Coronavirus
- ICC/NECSI publish business guidance to tackle COVID-19
Webinar on force majeure in commercial contracts