A win for importer in the High Court of Australia

Win for importer in the High Court of Australia

A decision in the High Court is a welcome guidance for importers and their advisors.


Also on home.kpmg

Boxes on pallets.

The High Court delivered its much-awaited judgment on Wednesday following a long-running tariff classification dispute between the Comptroller-General of Customs (Customs) and Pharma-A-Care.

The dispute arose about the correct classification under the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (Tariff Act) of garcinia preparations and vitamin gummies (the goods) imported by Pharma. Pharma-A-Care contended that the products were to be classified as ‘medicaments’ and therefore duty-free. Customs argued that the goods were properly classified as either ‘sugar confectionary’ or ‘other food preparations’. If so classified, the amount of duty payable would be either 5 percent or 4 percent of the customs value of the respectively.

Customs supported its argument by reference to the legal note to Chapter 30 of the Tariff Act, where medicaments are classified, which states that the chapter does not cover “foods or beverages”. Customs referred to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized Convention) that has been adopted in Schedule 3 of the Tariff Act, observing that the Harmonized Convention was translated to both the French and English. Customs emphasised that the French version of the applicable Note to the ‘medicaments’ chapter did not contain the same exclusion of "[f]oods or beverages" as it did in the English text. It followed in Customs’ view, that those exclusions in the English version were not intended to control the meaning.

To continue reading this article, please log on to KPMG Tax Now. 

©2021 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved. The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organisation.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

For more detail about the structure of the KPMG global organisation please visit https://home.kpmg/governance.

Connect with us


Want to do business with KPMG?


loading image Request for proposal

Save, Curate and Share

Save what resonates, curate a library of information, and share content with your network of contacts.

Sign up today