Goods will be destroyed or exported if they need an import permit but arrive without one

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Importing to Australia has got a whole lot stricter

Customs clearance of “conditionally non-prohibited goods” that need an import permit but arrive in Australia without one in place will no longer be allowed by Biosecurity. Import permit applications in progress are not considered as being a permit in place.

If there is no import permit for these goods, then they will be redirected for export or destroyed.

This is set to have a dramatic impact on importers, agents and people who assume you can sort out the import permit for these types of goods once they have landed here.

Import permits cannot be issued after the goods have arrived in Australia; this is a criminal offence attracting sentences of up to five years imprisonment. Worse, offenders can be sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment if they are found to have gained a commercial advantage over their competitors or potential competitors.

Goods will be destroyed or exported if they need an import permit but arrive without one

Goods will be destroyed or exported if they need an import permit but arrive without one

What goods need an import permit?

To avoid grief, it is essential to check whether goods classed as “conditionally non-prohibited” require an import permit. These types of goods are defined in the Biosecurity Determination. Not all such goods require an import permit. The legislation has a small number of alternative conditions that describe when goods of this type are exempt from the import permit requirement. If no alternative conditions exist for the conditionally non-prohibited goods being imported then you need an import permit.

What is an import permit

An import permit contains various scientific, technical and administrative requirements that allow Biosecurity to manage imports that have some element of biosecurity risk. Import permits also allow Biosecurity to determine the fitness and propriety of importers and people connected to them.

The assessment and approval process for import permits is defined in the Biosecurity Act.
Unless alternate conditions in the Biosecurity Determination exist, conditionally non-prohibited goods need an import permit to be in place prior to arrival in Australia.

Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON)

BICON can be used to determine whether imported goods are prohibited or permitted. Permitted goods can then be checked to see if they are subject to import conditions, require supporting documentation or treatment. BICON can also confirm if the goods need an import permit. You can use BICON to apply and manage import permits. Completed applications paid for in full are generally processed within 20 working days. They can be delayed if they are incomplete or have incorrect information. Delays can also occur if they need technical assessment or require more information.

Check out BICON

What are conditionally non-prohibited goods

Conditionally non-prohibited goods are defined in the Biosecurity Determination and are considered to have some element of biosecurity risk. The importing of these types of goods is strictly regulated by Biosecurity to help protect our environment from pests and diseases. Conditionally non-prohibited goods are only allowed entry if they have an import permit or comply with strict alternate conditions. The Biosecurity Determination serves to mitigate the biosecurity risk to Australia.

If goods consist of several components, each component must be checked to see if it is a conditionally non-prohibited good that requires an import permit. If so, this requirement will need to be met.

The first set of conditionally non-prohibited goods is organic in nature. To be exempt from an import permit, they are generally required to be for personal use and retorted. Retortion is when material which is in an airtight container is sufficiently heated to achieve the required level of sterilisation. These goods are:

  • Animals
  • Plants
  • Biological material
  • Infectious agents
  • Fungi

The second set of conditionally non-prohibited goods covers a broader range of products. To get import permit exemption in this set generally requires stronger sterilization, ensuring the goods are clean and that they are completely free of any contaminants. These requirements have to be in place before the goods leave their country of origin. These goods are:

  • Soil (other than soil adhering to goods) and goods containing soil
  • Water and goods containing water
  • Chemical or mined fertilisers, soil conditioners and soil growth supplements
  • Mined fertilisers, mined soil conditioners and mined soil growth supplements
  • Used beehives and used beekeeping equipment
  • Equipment that has directly or indirectly come into contact with horses
  • Tyres including retreaded tyres
  • Used machinery and equipment
  • Used veterinary equipment other than from New Zealand
  • Used clothes and cloth rags in commercial consignments
  • Mineral and metal ores, rocks and sand
  • Human blood, human tissue and similar goods
  • Hair, teeth or bones from a human’s body (other than human remains)

Examples of importing conditionally non-prohibited goods

Importing meat and honey example

Let’s look at a simple example where a small business in Melbourne wants to import a commercial quantity of meat and honey not from New Zealand. After a careful study of the 2016 Biosecurity Determination, it can be seen there are two sections of alternate conditions that need to be checked to see if an import permit is not required. These alternate conditions are:

  • Section 15 for meat
  • Section 19 for honey and bees

Checking the components of the goods shows the meat and honey both fail to comply with with their alternative conditions, therefore these goods require an import permit.

Analysis of the alternate conditions for the meat component

Section 15 is the alternative conditions of meat and meat products. The importing of the meat complies with the initial part as it is intended for human consumption and no other use – Part 1.

However, the meat fails to comply as it is required to reconcile with at least one of the remaining parts in the section. Checking the other parts shows the meat is not:

  • For personal use – Part 2 (1),
  • From New Zealand – Part 2 (2a)
  • For personal use – Part 2 (2b), (3), (4), (5), (6)
  • Natural casings derived from bovine, caprine, ovine or porcine animals – Part 2 (6A)
  • Meat or meat products not covered by the other parts in this section and which contain less than 5% by weight of meat – Part 7a
  • Meat or meat products not covered by the other parts in this section and which are for personal use – Part 7b

Analysis of the alternate conditions for the honey component

Section 19 is the alternative conditions of honey and bees. The importing of the honey fails to comply with any of the parts of this section as it is not:

  • Pure and free from extraneous material – Part 1
  • Unloaded in Western Australia – Part 2

Need an import permit for meat and honey?Need an import permit for meat and honey?

Eggs and meat-based flavoured noodles example

A more complex example involves a small business in Sydney which wants to import noodles that contain eggs and meat-based flavouring. Reviewing the Biosecurity Determination shows there are three sections of alternate conditions that need to be checked to see if the goods can be exempted from needing an import permit. These alternate conditions are:

  • Section 15 for meat-based flavouring
  • Section 17 for eggs
  • Section 18 for noodles

An investigation of the components within the egg and meat-flavoured noodles shows that the meat-based flavouring and egg comply with their alternative conditions, however the noodles fail to comply with their section. As one or more of the components within the goods do not comply with their alternative conditions, then the egg and meat-flavoured noodles require an import permit.

Analysis of the alternate conditions for the meat-based flavouring component

Section 15 is the alternative conditions of meat and meat products. The importing of the meat-based flavouring in the noodles complies with the following parts of the section as they are:

  • Intended for human consumption and no other use – Part 1
  • Meat or meat products not covered by the other parts in this section – Part 7
    • The goods been retorted
    • The container has not been opened
    • Contain less than 5% by weight of meat
      Is shelf-stable

Checking the other parts of the section shows there are no issues as the meat-based flavouring in the noodles is not:

  • For personal use Part 2 (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6)
  • Natural casings derived from bovine, caprine, ovine or porcine animals Part 2 (6A)

Analysis of the alternate conditions for the egg component

Section 17 is the alternative conditions of eggs and egg products. The importing of the egg or egg product in the noodles complies with the following parts of the section as they are:

  • Intended for human consumption and no other use – Part 1
  • An ingredient in the noodles or contained in the noodles – Part 2 (2)
  • Less than 10% by weight of the noodles – Part 2 (2a)
  • Pieces of egg can not be seen – Part 2 (2a)

Checking the other parts of the section shows there are no issues as the egg and egg product in the noodles are not:

  • Whole eggs – Part 2 (1)
  • Egg waffles – Part 3 (1)
  • Mooncakes that include egg – Part 4 (1)

Analysis of the alternate conditions of noodles component

Section 18 is the alternative conditions of miscellaneous goods for human consumption. The importing of the goods fails to comply with any part of the section as the noodles are not:

  • Luwak coffee – Part 2
  • Muesli bars, uncooked ready-to-bake bread mix or breakfast cereals – Part 3
  • Soup – Part 4
  • Birds’ nests – Part 5
  • Noodles or pasta that contain or include as an ingredient eggs or egg products or meat based flavouring products for personal use – Part 6
  • Snails – Part 7
  • Protein powders or supplements – Part 8
  • Animal products for human consumption that were exported from Australian but did not clear customs or quarantine in another country – Part 9

 

Need an import permit for egg and meat-based flavoured noodles?Need an import permit for egg and meat-based flavoured noodles?

Need further assistance if you are in need an import permit

Check if your goods need an import permit by accessing the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system. If you are not sure you need an import permit and need help, feel free to call on 1300651233 or send us a message.

If you have goods in transit that will arrive butĀ need an import permit thenĀ contact us urgently to discuss your options.


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