Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade has advised that imports of cheese and curd (other cheese) from Australia are approaching the trigger level at which a special safeguard measure (temporary tariff increase) will be applied.
- This information applies only to exports of Australian cheese and curd (other cheese) in tariff line 0406.90 which are subject to special agricultural safeguard (SSGs) provisions under the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Other products are not affected.
- As at 8 March 2011, imports from Australia had reached 409.41 tons. DAFF was unfortunately unable to confirm the exact trigger volume for 2011 from Thai Customs prior to 9 March 2011. However, DAFF has been advised that the applicable SSG trigger level for 2011 is approximately 464.12 tons. This level has been adjusted down from 482.43 tons to allow for product in transit to Thailand when the SSG triggered in 2010.
- Consistent with the TAFTA, once the specified trigger level has been reached, the tariff rate applying to these exports to Thailand will increase from the TAFTA preferential rate for 2011 of 18 per cent to the general (most favoured nation) tariff rate of 30 per cent, until the end of the calendar year.
- Shipments en route to Thailand when the trigger level is reached, with a contract settled before the trigger level is reached, will attract the TAFTA preferential rate, but will be counted in the volume of imports towards the 2012 trigger levels.
- SSG provisions under TAFTA apply to 41 tariff items nominated by Thailand during TAFTA negotiations. The SSG provision on these tariff lines will apply through to 2020.
- DAFF is working with Thai officials to determine the actual trigger levels for 2011 for all other products subject to SSGs. DAFF will provide further advice to stakeholders when the trigger levels for 2011 can be confirmed by Thailand.
- DAFF has sought a review of the TAFTA SSGs, with the aim of reaching agreement on higher trigger levels for a range of products, including cheese and curd (other cheese), and improved administrative arrangements of SSGs. DAFF will continue its representations to Thai authorities on the matter. In the interim, the present arrangements remain in operation.
For any further information please contact Louise Graham, ASEAN Section, Trade and Market Access Division, phone 02 6272 5554 or email: Louise.Graham@daff.gov.au