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Gross and Becroft have successfully maintained the duty free status of certain olive importations on behalf of a number of major olive importers into Australia.

The olives in question were imported in bulk in large barrels and in a brine solution to provide a partial preservation of the olives. On arrival to Australia the olives underwent further processing which varied from importer to ensure they were then fit for human consumption.

At the time of importation it was clear that the olives were not fit for human consumption.

Australian Customs, contrary to a long standing practice, sought to classify the goods to heading 2005 as “other prepared vegetables”. This heading traditionally has applied to goods which are edible and fit for human consumption.

Evidence was provided to Customs that the goods had only been partially preserved and were not fit for human consumption. Furthermore, Customs in fact even engaged their own expert to confirm our clients’ position.

At the conclusion of various negotiations Customs agreed that the correct classification for the goods was in heading 0711.20.00 which deals with “Vegetables Provisionally Preserved”. This had always been the traditional classification for the goods.

This decision was very welcomed by the importers concerned as Customs had in fact made demands for retrospective duty payments. These demands now fall away and the importers are free to continue their importations on a duty free basis.

The matter provided a very pleasing result as there was some doubt at its beginning as to the prospects of success. In addition, we were able to combine the interests of three separate importers into one successful defence of the matter.

Ross Becroft

Please note that should you have any questions or issues regarding either potential or actual anti-dumping matters or review of government decisions generally, contact Louis Gross or Ross Becroft.

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