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Australia to axe hundreds of nuisance tariffs from July

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Canberra: Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Monday that the federal government would abolish almost 500 nuisance tariffs from July 1.

“We will eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of imported goods, including toothbrushes, hand tools, fridges, dishwashers, clothing, and menstrual and sanitary products,” Chalmers announced at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit held in Sydney.

“This is the biggest unilateral tariff reform in at least two decades. It will cut compliance costs, reduce red tape, make it easier to do business, and boost productivity,” he noted.

According to the treasurer, the new reforms served as a significant move to simplify Australia’s trading system and remove compliance costs for local businesses, particularly small-to-medium enterprises.

“There are 18 free trade agreements and around 16,000 tariff concession orders. Much of our trade is tariff-free but not free of the associated compliance costs. The complexity of the current system means businesses are not fully benefiting from trading opportunities. The compliance burden disproportionately impacts small businesses and occasional importers who are less able to manage the costs of accessing preferential or concessional rates,” said Chalmers.

The changes are estimated to scrap about 14 percent of Australia’s total tariffs. Meanwhile, they will also streamline approximately 8.5 billion Australian dollars (5.6 billion U.S. dollars) worth of annual trade and save businesses over 30 million Australian dollars in compliance costs each year.

“It will provide a bit of extra help with the cost of living challenge by making everyday items just that little bit cheaper,” said Chalmers (1 Australian dollar equals about 0.66 U.S. dollars).

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