5489.0 - International Merchandise Trade, Australia, Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2001   
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Contents >> Glossary


        The ABN (Australian Business Number) is an 11 digit number that identifies a business, registered under the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 in its dealings with the Australian Taxation Office and other government departments and agencies.
    ABS Data Warehouse
        ABS database containing datasets and definitional and procedural metadata, together with facilities for loading, storing, accessing, manipulating, and disseminating these data.
    Ad valorem
        A rate of import duty calculated as a percentage of the Customs value of the goods. e.g. 2 per cent.
    Australian Customs Service
        A statutory body that derives its authority in the first instance from the Australian Constitution, which reserves to the Commonwealth, the power to regulate imports and exports, and authority for the levying of duties on Customs and excise. It is given specific expression in the Customs Act 1901, Excise Act 1901, Customs Tariff Act 1995, and associated legislation.
    Australian Customs' value
        The value for import duty purposes determined by Customs. The primary basis for its establishment is the price actually paid or payable, provided a number of conditions are met. The most important is that the buyer and seller must be independent. If these conditions are not met World Trade Organization (WTO) rules are used to determine the Customs value. It is the prime valuation method used by ABS for disseminating international merchandise import statistics.
    Balance of payments basis
        A basis for compiling international merchandise trade statistics, which records transactions between residents and non-residents at the time change of ownership occurs.
        Heavy material carried by a ship for ensuring proper stability, so as to avoid capsizing and to secure effective propulsion.
    Bonded warehouses
        A duty deferral facility whereby owners of imported goods, on which duty has not been paid, may store those goods 'underbond' in licensed warehouses until such time as they are ready to pay the duty and enter the goods into home consumption.
        Classification used for balance of payments purposes, which shows imports according to three major categories - Consumption goods, Capital goods, and Intermediate and other merchandise goods. It is based on the categories of BEC, with some minor variations which affect motor spirit, passenger motor cars, a range of military equipment, video recording or reproducing apparatus, and certain types of other imports which are not classified according to kind.
        International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Balance of Payments Manual, Fifth edition, 1993. It is the current international standard followed by Australia for the compilation of balance of payment statistics.
    Broad Economic Categories
        A three-digit classification, which groups commodities according their main end use, introduced by the United Nations in 1970, suitable for the general economic analysis of international merchandise trade data.
        This term includes all dutiable petroleum products loaded aboard a vessel for consumption by that vessel.
        An international Customs document for the temporary duty-free admission of goods under certain international conventions.
    Client Activity Centre
        A three-digit suffix added to an ABN that allows registered businesses to organise tax affairs in order to meet various Australian Taxation Office reporting obligations.
    Commodity classifications
        Export and import commodities are classified in accordance with:
      • the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS);
      • the codes and descriptions of the third revision of the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 3 (SITC, Rev.3); and
      • the 19 categories of the United Nations Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC).
    Concessional rate of duty
        A lower than normal rate of import duty levied by Customs as a result of the import's country of origin or an Australian industry assistance scheme.
        A parcel of goods sent for sale overseas. 'On consignment' - refers to goods shipped for sale overseas for sale by an agent, title being held by the consignor until the goods are sold.
    Cost, insurance and freight
        The cost, insurance and freight (c.i.f.) point of valuation for imports, is the point when the goods arrive at the border of the importing country. The value of the imports includes the cost of goods at the point of export as well as the associated international insurance and transport costs associated with the delivery of the goods from the border of the exporting country to the border of the importing country.
    Country of origin
        For imports and import clearances, the country of origin is the country of production or the country in which the final stage of production or manufacture occurs.
    Country of final destination
        For exports, this is the last country - as far as it is known at the time of exportation - to which goods are to be delivered.
    Customs' clearances
        All goods (above a set minimum value) exported from or imported into Australia, whether by air, sea or post must be cleared through Customs. Consignments with values below certain limits may be cleared on Informal Clearance Documents.
    Customs entry
        A communication of information manually or electronically to Customs about imports, or goods intended for export.
    Customs frontier
        The limit of Customs' jurisdiction.
    Departure date
        For exports, the date of departure of the ship or aircraft from an Australian port.
        A term used to describe the process whereby the products of one country are exported to another country at prices less than their normal value. The effect of dumping is offset by instituting anti-dumping measures.
    Dumping duty
        Dumping duty is an additional Customs' import duty imposed to offset the effect of dumping which has been found to materially injure an Australian industry. The duty may be the full margin between the normal import value and overseas export price, or may be a lesser amount which removes injury to the Australian industry.
        Material laid beneath or wedged between cargo to prevent damage during transport.
    Economic territory
        The geographic territory administered by a government within which persons, goods and capital circulate freely.
        Goods which subtract from the stock of material resources in Australia, as a result of their movement out of the country. These goods have been produced or manufactured in Australia. See also: Re-exports.
    Export Clearance Number
        A number issued by Customs to identify an export entry for each individual consignment of goods intended for export.
    Financial asset
        Generally a financial claim on the rest of the world represented by a contractual obligation (such as a loan) or evidenced by a security (such as a share certificate). Monetary gold is treated as a financial asset because it is readily available for payment of international obligations.
    Fixed rate of duty
        A rate of import duty calculated as a monetary value applicable to each item. e.g. $1.50 per item.
    Free on board
        The value of goods measured on a free on board (f.o.b.) basis includes all production and other costs incurred up until the goods are placed on board the international carrier for export. Free on board values exclude international insurance and transport costs. They include the value of the outside packaging in which the product is wrapped, but do not include the value of the international freight containers used for transporting the goods.
    GST (imports only)
        GST is a broad-based tax levied on most supplies of goods and services consumed in Australia. Customs is responsible for collecting GST from importers on goods when imported. Importers receive an input tax credit for goods imported for the purpose of their enterprise.
    Import clearances
        Import clearances are those goods which are brought into Australia directly for home consumption, plus goods cleared from a bonded warehouse (i.e. goods cleared into the Australian market for home consumption following payment of duty).
    Import duty
        Customs duties and all other duties, fees, or other charges which are collected on or in connection with the importation of goods, but not including fees and charges which are limited in amount to the approximate cost of services rendered. The main purpose for its imposition is domestic industry assistance.
    Import quotas
        Import quotas provide importers with an entitlement to import limited quantities of particular goods at concessional or normal rates of import duty during a specific quota period. This arrangement currently applies only to cheese and curd products. Imports in excess of the ceiling are subject to penalty rates of Customs duty.
        Imports reflect goods that arrive in the country and include:
      • goods brought into Australia directly for home consumption following the payment of any duty; plus
      • goods which enter the country but are not cleared for home consumption; the goods instead go into Customs (bonded) warehouses and duty is not paid at that time.
    IMTS, Rev.2
        The UN's International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions Series M, No. 52, Rev. 2 (IMTS, Rev.2). This is the current international framework followed by Australia for the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics.
    Indirect trade
        Goods exported to an intermediate country from where the goods are then re-exported to another country (unknown to the original exporter) for final consumption.
    Informal Clearance Documents
        When the value of goods imported by air or sea is below $250 but duty and taxes exceed $50, then an informal clearance document (ICD) must be lodged. If the value exceeds $250 a formal entry declaration must be lodged. For postal articles the commercial (formal) entry threshold is set at $1000.
    International containers
        Receptacles used in the international freight industry to transport various commodities. Individual items or packages may be loaded into a single larger unit.
    Invoice currency
        The currency in which an invoice for exported or imported goods is denominated. Conversion of a foreign invoice currency value to Australian dollars is undertaken by Customs (for imports), or by the ABS or the trader (for exports), using exchange rates applicable at the time of import or export. Australia's international merchandise statistics are presented in Australian dollars, unless specified otherwise.
    Kyoto Convention
        The International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures (Kyoto Convention) was signed at Kyoto in May 1973 and entered into force in 1974. The Convention discussed the universal harmonisation of customs procedures, other than classification and valuation. The World Customs Organization (WCO) adopted the revised Convention in June 1999 reflecting current and expected future demands of international trade.
        A document issued by a shipper, covering all cargo stated to be in a ship or aircraft for delivery at a particular seaport or airport.
    Mode of transport
        The mode of transport by which the goods were imported to, or exported from, Australia. Identified by one of three codes:
        • S - Sea
        • A - Air
        • P - Parcel post
    Monetary gold
        Gold held by monetary authorities, such as the Reserve Bank of Australia and other central banks, as part of an economy's official reserves.
    National accounts
        Systematic quantitative summary of the Australian economy as a whole.
    Nature of entry
        Customs record import transactions according to whether the goods cross the Customs frontier and are entered directly into the market for home consumption (Nature 10), are diverted into a bonded warehouse (Nature 20), or are released from a bonded warehouse into the marketplace (Nature 30).
    Non-financial assets
        Tangible and intangible assets that are not financial assets.
    Non-merchandise trade
        Goods which cross the Customs' frontier, but do not alter Australia's stock of material resources.
    Non-monetary gold
        Gold that is traded like any other commodity. Non-monetary gold is regarded as a commodity, rather than as a financial item, as its worth is principally derived from either its gold content or its value as a collector's piece.
    Parcel post
        Goods consigned through the postal system. This term excludes small items transported by private courier companies.
    Partner country
        • For exports, this is the country of last known destination, or country of final destination as far as it is known at the time of exportation.
        • or imports and import clearances, this is the country of origin of the goods.
    Preference code
        A code used to indicate whether a preferential rate of duty, applying to the import of certain goods from a particular country, has been claimed.
    Preferential rate of duty
        A reduced rate of duty applied to products that are produced or manufactured in a country which is party to a Trade Agreement with Australia.
        Re-exports are defined as goods, materials or articles originally imported into Australia which are exported in either the same condition in which they were imported, or after undergoing some minor operations (e.g. blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting) which leave them essentially unchanged. Included in international merchandise export statistics.
        Re-imports are goods, materials or articles originally exported which are imported in either the same condition in which they were exported or after undergoing repair or minor alterations (e.g. blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting) which leave them essentially unchanged. Included in international merchandise import statistics.
    Screened free
        Imports subject to examination by Customs that do not require an import entry as their value does not exceed the $50 duty and tax free limit for imported goods, and the value of the goods is below the commercial entry threshold. A related term is Informal Clearance Documents (ICDs).
    Ship and aircraft stores
        Bunkers (fuel), food and other goods loaded onto foreign vessels and aircraft to be consumed during international journeys.
        A System of National Accounts' (Revision 4, published in 1993). It is the current international standard followed by Australia for the compilation of national accounts statistics.
    State of final destination
        State of final destination is the Australian State in which the imported goods are released from Customs control. It does not necessarily equate to the State in which the goods were discharged or the State in which they were consumed.
    State of origin
        For exports, State of origin is the Australian State in which the final stage of production or manufacture occurs. It does not necessarily equate to the State in which the goods were loaded onto the international carrier.
        A tax imposed mainly on the importation of goods and rarely on the exportation of goods. The 'Australian Customs Tariff' or Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification 1996 is the official list of imports subject to tariffs imposed by the Commonwealth government and collected by Customs.
    Tariff quotas
        see Import quotas.
    Temporary trade
        Temporary trade refers to goods that enter or leave Australia on a temporary basis, during which time the nature of the commodity remains unchanged.
        The transfer of goods without payment of duty from the importing vessel or aircraft to another vessel or aircraft, for the purposes of conveyance overseas. Transhipment activity occurs where goods are not being re-traded by third countries but are simply moving through a third country en route between trading partners.

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