Australian cheese and curd exports about to incur tariffs

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 27th May 2010

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has been warned by Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade that imports of cheese and curd classed as “other cheese” from Australia are approaching the trigger level for a temporary tariff increase.

The applicable ‘Special Safe Guard’ (SSG) trigger level for 2010 is a total of 450.41 metric tons. This level was been adjusted down from 459.46 tons, to allow for product already on its way to Thailand when the SSG triggered in 2009.

This information applies only to exports of Australian cheese and curd products in tariff line 0406.90.00 that are subject to special agricultural safeguard provisions under the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Other products are not affected.

As at 25 May 2010, imports from Australia had already reached 359.29 tons – 80% of the trigger level for the 2010 calendar year.

Once the trigger level is reached, the tariff rate will increase by 10%, to a total of 30%, until the end of the calendar year. Shipments en route to Thailand with a pre-settled contract will attract the TAFTA preferential rate of 20%, but will be counted in the volume of imports towards the 2011 trigger levels.

The department said it has sought a review of the TAFTA trigger levels, with the aim of reaching agreement on higher trigger levels for a range of products, including cheeses, and will continue its representations to Thai authorities on the matter.