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Tuesday / July 16.
HomeminewsODMA Calls for Nuisance Optical Tariff Abolishment

ODMA Calls for Nuisance Optical Tariff Abolishment

Tariffs on optical products imported from the European Union (EU) are a ‘nuisance tariff’ and as such should be removed, according to the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ODMA).

The call comes as the Australian Government prepares to abolish around 500 nuisance tariffs in the biggest unilateral tariff reform in two decades. By removing the nuisance tariffs, the government says it will “boost productivity, reduce compliance costs for businesses and ease the cost of living for Australian families by over AU$120 million over the next four years”.1

While tariffs have long been applied to the importation of European acetate frames, their impact was ameliorated by a 5% tariff concession order (the Plastic Frames TCO).2 However, on 7 July 2022, the Australian Border Force decided to revoke the TCO for plastic spectacle frames, with retrospective effect from 13 May that year.

According to ODMA, revoking the TCO has “increased costs for retailers and consumers (and) unnecessarily exacerbated cost of living pressures on the millions of Australians who use optical products, and contributed to the upward pressure on inflation”.

the draft list of nuisance tariffs the Government intends to abolish does not currently include tariffs that “create a significant burden” on the optical industry

It has also “created significant additional red tape” for small business.

And yet according to ODMA, the draft list of nuisance tariffs the government intends to abolish does not currently include tariffs that “create a significant burden” on the optical industry.

ODMA said it has been advocating on behalf of the optical industry in Australia, for the removal of a number of nuisance tariffs since October 2022. The national association recently wrote to the Treasury Department of the federal government asking it to give close consideration to abolishing tariffs on frames made from plastics and other materials, along with parts associated with frames and sunglasses.

In the letter, ODMA stated that “removing these tariffs would return to the longstanding policy position and ensure Australian companies no longer face the recent increased compliance and cost burden imposed on them”.

“It would also level the playing field between optical manufacturers from the EU and China” where nil tariffs are already in effect under trade agreements, the ODMA letter said.


  1. Australian Government, The Treasury, Tariff reform: removal of nuisance tariffs (web page). Available at:  treasury.gov.au/consultation.
  2. Tariff concession order number: TCO 0315725.