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foibles

Is importing dead and buried?

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I just caught up with a mate whom I haven't seen in 9 months. Last time I saw him he was talking of importing a late 90's Aston (he has the $$). I just saw him yesterday and he was saying that he would not think of importing any car given the new rules around checking for asbestos. 

He then mentioned how a bunch of Maserati owners overseas, who were bringing their rare, collectible, concourse condition to Australia for a cruise week during the Grand Prix, had their cars impounded at the port and were refused entry. Each has had their car turned back (to Europe) so their week-long trip has now been destroyed - at massive personal cost to each. 

https://www.motoring.com.au/australian-border-patrol-nabs-maseratis-111746/

I'm not really going to lose sleep for these people, but it raises some important points around importing, such as;

* Has anyone actually successfully imported a car under the new rules? If so, did they actually comply with the rules, or merely escape 'detection'?

* Border Force - as is typical of any public service function - seems unwilling or unable to fully specify just how someone must comply. For instance....I have heard that after a specific manufacture build date, all cars will be deemed 'OK' (as that is when asbestos parts were no longer used) - however this still seems wishy-washy because;

a) nobody can actually say what this month and year of build is

b) nobody wants to admit that asbestos parts could still have been retro-fitted to these cars at a later date.

* My understanding is that the 'gold standard' evidence package (if I could call it that) is to have an accredited, certified, asbestos testing professional run a series of tests on a car at their own testing facility, whereby they must sample pieces of gasket, heat shields, brake pads and linings, clutch plates, etc etc - at their premises - and then test these samples and - if all is clear then submit a written report with official NATA-style certification letter head, with the importer to show invoice from and payment to this overseas consultant. To be quite frank, this service would run to thousands of dollars....and made more complex by the fact that the importer would not have wanted to buy the car yet (in case it fails the asbestos test)....and so also requires a very tolerant seller who is happy to have their vehicle carted away for some forensic style testing.

Despite all the (apparently, but not really) good news about changes to import laws such as a 25 year rule...these changes now look absolutely dead in the water. In fact, I would say the situation is now worse, because all vehicles prior to a certain year (whatever that year is) may be affected, so even SEVS cars such as Skylines and Supras may be affected.

Does anyone have slightly more helpful insight into the new asbestos rule, how it affects imports, and how to comply?

I ask this because one prominent importer is already advertising a 'pre-law change' buying service for potential 25 year imports - but they make no mention of the risk of asbestos tests needing to be carried out on these cars, and I suspect that a truly massive caveat emptor applies to these cars (not just because they are being bought in advance of legislative change, but mainly because there is no indication as to how they will comply with the asbestos ruling).

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Correct.  Testing must be done and proven clear with required documentation before shipping. It's being done all the time, right now, as we speak.

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Late reply here, but I have not been on the forums in ages.

Work has recently imported a 1964 Chevrolet C10 from California (we used America West http://americawest.net.au/), I believe they checked for asbestos, had proper paperwork and it is now here at the shop getting fixed up before registration.

I am currently importing a car from Texas through Iron Block Imports (aka Kristian/Iron Chef Imports). We have discussed asbestos testing, again it will get done state side prior to export with all proper documentation.

The only way I can really see this changing importation is -

- SLIGHT added cost and time before export
- SLIGHTLY more paperwork
- Dramas if you are trying to import from a country/destination where a proper asbestos check cannot be undertaken

From the article you linked, it seemed the Maserati guys fkd up in a few ways

"Organisers had sought exemption for the vehicles back in September, arguing that they were here for a single visit and would be exported via Sydney at the end of the trip. It’s claimed they received no response from the relevant department until two weeks prior to the event, at which time the cars were already en route."

Why would you send the cars before you heard back from the Government!? Send more emails, call them on the phone, get it sorted before expensive cars have been put into a container and shipped FFS.

"The ABF did not conduct asbestos testing on any of the vehicles and there was no damage to any of the vehicles. Two of the vehicles did not have the required import approval from the Australian Government and were therefore held at the border. It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that Vehicle Import Approval is in place prior to importing cars to Australia.

The other six vehicles were identified as potentially containing asbestos and the importer could not provide appropriate assurances that they did not. The importer declined to have the vehicles tested for asbestos. The importer was given permission to export the vehicles."

So the importer didn't get the cars checked for asbestos and didn't get correct approval for 2 of the cars? Sounds like they ran the gauntlet and lost.

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Nah.... that'll be horse sh*t. More to the point....it's probably a case of 'devil is in the detail'. Could be they're just spruiking their white paper to grab your personal data on their splash page....but what I suspect is skewing the data would be new car imports to Aus from us....such as Tesla and Mustangs. London to a brick classic Yankee car imports have slowed down....some people will tell you it is completely paralysing the industry....which is what I believe.....others, such as a previous poster on this thread, will tell you 'nothing to see here'. 

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And given an improving USA economy...and suggestions that prices for their own classics is now increasing domestically...offset against an AUD that has just fallen to 71c overnight....and already has many Yankee classics for sale domestically....it is probably cheaper to buy here than import....before considering the logistical hell that is asbestos compliance. I see the market declining further and further. I know there are some who are trying to remain positive around possible 'loosening' of import legislation and regulations.....but the recent change of PM robbed us of several sitting days of parliament. We may now see a change of political agenda....and the long awaited changes may very possibly not materialise at all....and we may face an early election before we know it. Guess what happens then? All proposed bills are abandoned....and these changes....mooted since 2014....start all over again, and we're left guessing what the ALPs agenda may be. There is a very, very real risk that any and all changes will be lost....and we may see nothing at all until 2020.... if at all.

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