Hundreds of nuisance tariffs to be dumped in budget

The federal government is set to scrap nuisance tariffs on imports including clothes and hand tools.

The federal government is set to scrap nuisance tariffs on imports including clothes and hand tools. Photo: Getty

The price of scores of common household items is expected to get cheaper as the government moves to dump almost 500 “nuisance tariffs”.

In the single biggest change in two decades, the Albanese government will eliminate 14 per cent of Australia’s tariffs on imported goods from July 1.

Goods affected are as diverse as imported hand tools, fridges, clothing and menstrual and sanitary products.

The change aims to make it easier to do business and boost productivity by cutting costs and reducing red tape.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the tariffs were raising little money because loopholes meant most businesses were exempt. But the exemption process remains costly for businesses – which pass on their compliance costs to consumers.

The tariffs will be scrapped from July 1. The move will streamline $8.5 billion worth of trade and save businesses more than $30 million in annual costs.

Other items that will be affected include protective footwear, pyjamas, fishing reels, electric blankets and toasters. The full list of tariffs will be finalised and revealed in the federal budget on May 14.

The Productivity Commission defines nuisance tariffs as tariffs that raise little revenue, have negligible benefits for producers but impose compliance burdens on businesses.

Consultation on the proposal is under way, with submissions closing in April.

Chalmers said the changes would ease the burden on small businesses and help to cut costs.

“This is meaningful economic reform that will deliver meaningful benefits to businesses of all sizes around Australia,” he said.

“These tariff reforms will be better for businesses, better for consumers and better for the economy.

“It will cut compliance costs, reduce red tape, make it easier to do business, and boost productivity.”

Chalmers said the cuts would also “provide a small amount of extra help with the cost of living challenge” by reducing the cost of everyday items. Any effect at the cash register is, however, likely to be minor.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar lauded the decision.

“Removing these tariffs is an important step in simplifying the trade system and driving productivity,” he said.

“Ensuring our border systems are as efficient as possible is vital. It means Australian enterprises can spend more time on doing business rather than administering red tape.”

Trade Minister Don Farrell said one in four Australian jobs was trade-related.

“Trade that is simple, fast and cost-effective can boost Australia’s international competitiveness, help create jobs and reduce cost of living pressures,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said scrapping the tariffs was good for farmers and consumers.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the changes meant less complicated compliance for Australian businesses.

-with AAP

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