Expediting the process: Australian trade body reveals crucial ‘Country of Origin’ consultation is underway

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The green and gold "Australian made" logo is a symbol of product quality. © Australian made
The green and gold "Australian made" logo is a symbol of product quality. © Australian made

Related tags: Australia, Country of origin labelling, Labelling

A consultation process over Australia’s Country of Origin labelling rules is underway – the guidelines which came under scrutiny after a leading brand was refused permission to use ‘Made in Australia’ claims for products using imported fish oil.

In March last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced stricter criteria for bearing “Australia Made” claims, following a bill amendment of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Under the new laws, Australian companies which made false or misleading “Made in Australia” claims and related logo were legally liable.

Nature’s Care was an example of a brand affected by the new rules. Despite conducting encapsulation for its imported fish oil and vitamin D capsules in Australia, it was unable to renew its license​ to use the “Australia Made” logo.  

That decision was subsequently overturned, and now a consultation will occur via the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs (CAF), involving all Commonwealth, State, Territory ministers responsible for fair trading and consumer protection laws.

The process may take up to three months and once supported, the Commonwealth will introduce a bill into the parliament to amend the Australian Consumer Law.

The amendment will provide a mechanism “to prescribe processes that result in substantial transformation and to strengthen the wording that will ultimately be outlined in the regulations.”

Trade body Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) said it had sought to expedite the regulation amendment process.

“CMA understands that a consultation regulatory impact statement has been prepared for the above purposes and follows the same sentiment to that which the Taskforce supported.

“CMA will continue to advocate to Ministers and liaise and work with our counterparts at the Department of Industry, Austrade and AMCL to ensure the process is as timely and well informed as possible,” ​it said in a statement.

Removal from ACCC publication

Besides expediting the legislation change process, CMA added that it was seeking for the current guidance document for complementary healthcare products to be removed from the ACCC publication or amended to indicate that it is “under review” while a resolution is being progressed.

It also said that firms that wished to communicate the Australian Made authenticity through the use of the ‘Australian Made’ logo should note that the Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL) had stated that its “licensing decisions as part of its review of licensed complementary medicines remain in force” ​until the government’s proposed changes become law.

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