Australian Trusted Trader - Is it right for you?

The Australian Government has recently introduced arrangements to align Australian trade facilitation standards with the rest of the world by developing an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme. AEO is a concept of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) intended to support secure international trade. Various countries have assigned different titles to their respective AEO programmes; Australia’s programme is aptly named Australian Trusted Trader (ATT).

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is the government agency tasked with the implementation of this voluntary trade facilitation initiative; recognising businesses with secure supply chains and compliant practices, and rewarding them with a range of benefits including simpler processes creating a seamless trading experience.

The benefits as they stand today include:

· A dedicated account manager

· Priority trade services

· Differentiated examinations

· Duty deferral  (yet to be legislated)

· Streamlined reporting

· Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs)

To be eligible for ATT accreditation a business must have two years history of participation in international trade activities, a proven compliance record and be able to demonstrate that it is financially solvent.

Is ATT right for your business?

Consideration should be given to the benefits outlined above in connection with the commodities you import or export, and your business practices with regard to security in your supply chain. Will the perceived benefits provide your business with a positive financial outcome? If so, then proceeding with an application for ATT accreditation may be well advised.

As yet not all government agencies are in line with ATT. Along with the Department of Agriculture, other government agencies will still require the usual border clearance activity for goods.

Another key consideration should be Australia’s continued commitment to MRAs which are Customs to Customs agreements and are therefore open to all traders not just Trusted Traders. However, Trusted Traders will have access to additional trade facilitation benefits in countries with which Australia has signed an MRA. As we have seen with the recent signing between Australia and New Zealand, MRAs offer reduced regulatory burden at the time of importation. At present Australia has committed to future MRAs between Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Canada.

I would strongly recommend the full utilisation of all trade facilitation arrangements that are already available, including free trade agreements, from which small and medium enterprises can greatly benefit without the need to become accredited under ATT.

Should you require any further assistance please contact your account manager.

Peter Andrews 
Victorian State Manager