THE Australian Government is preparing to draft Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) documents with Japan, Thailand the United States under its Trusted Trader program, which now accounts for almost $55 billion of Australia’s two-way trade value.
Trusted Trader kicked off two years ago, and the Australian Government said it now embraces more than 200 accredited businesses, with agriculture being well-represented in the six MRAs which already exist for Australian trade with Canada, China, Korea, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.
The program aims to streamline legitimate trade, and is open to importers, exporters and service providers which have been active in the international supply chain for two years, are financially solvent, and have an ABN.
AGT Foods Australia is a processor and packer of Australian pulses, and an accredited Trusted Trader.
“I would recommend any grain company to get on board,” AGT documentation and funds manager, Michael Brittain, said.
“Of specific interest to the grain industry should be the MRAs in place as well as the Trader Identification Numbers being implemented.
“These will enable buyers in foreign markets where Trusted Traders sell to get faster access to the cargo when arrived in those destination countries.”
Mr Brittain said Trusted Trader enabled exporters to find the ear of government, which was keen to listen to suggestions and recommendations from importing and exporting companies.
A raft of new benefits, recently made available to accredited Trusted Traders, includes:
- Duty deferral: Improving cashflow and reducing delays at the border by enabling Trusted Traders who defer GST to be able to defer the payment of some customs duties on goods;
- Origin Advance Ruling: A special advance ruling exclusively for Trusted Traders who import goods under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), with preliminary findings indicating savings for one Trusted Trader of up to $1.6 million each year. This is currently being trialled by a number of Trusted Traders and will enable the ruling to be applied to multiple tariff classifications and rules of origin criterion;
- Full implementation of Australian-Korean MRA: To improve predictability, certainty, and speed to market through an agreement between Korean and Australian customs administrations. This provides priority treatment of goods at the border through expedited clearance, reduced documentation and cargo inspections, and minimises disruption to trade flows;
- Trader Identification Number (TIN): Implementation of a TIN unique to each Trusted Trader will expedite recognition by MRA partners to reduce red tape and improve the efficiency of the border clearance process;
- Lighter touch at the border: Providing faster border clearance for Trusted Traders in recognition of the lower risk that they present at the border. This will enable the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force (ABF) to have a greater focus on areas of greater or unknown risks.
Trusted Trader is separate to Austrade, Australia’s trade and investment commission within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), but the two are working along parallel lines to facilitate trade.
Trusted Trader officers are staff from ABF, part of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.
Joining the program is free, and Australian businesses with compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain may be eligible for accreditation.
Trusted Traders and departmental representatives will next formally meet at the ATT Industry Advisory Group meeting in December 2018.