Customs authorities in Australia and New Zealand have signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement that accepts each other’s supply chain security programmes and provides reciprocal benefits to the other country’s trusted partners.

The Australia-New Zealand Agreement will ensure that members of the recently launched Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) programme and the NZCS Secure Exports Scheme receive preferential border treatment and trade facilitation benefits when conducting trans-Tasman trade.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection anticipates that the MRA will allow up to 13 per cent of New Zealand import volume to Australia – totalling $3 billion – to be fast tracked, along with $7.5 billion of Australian exports by 2020.

“This combined $10.5 billion of trans-Tasman trade facilitated and secured through the MRA demonstrates a significant return on investment that will increase the international competitiveness of industries in both countries,” the Department said.

Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg, and NZ Customs Comptroller, Carolyn Tremain, met at the World Customs Organization’s Council sessions in Brussels to sign the Agreement on Friday, 15 July.

“The MRA provides benefits to trusted traders of both countries and provides border agencies greater end-to-end assurance of imports and exports. Reducing the regulatory duplication between the two schemes will make it easier for Australian and New Zealand businesses to trade with each other and boost the international competitiveness of both countries,” said Commissioner Quaedvlieg.

NZ Customs Comptroller Carolyn Tremain said the two agencies already work closely together and this arrangement will provide further assurance over trans-Tasman trade for both countries.

“The MRA means New Zealand’s Secure Export Scheme members will benefit from a faster and smoother border experience with our closest neighbour, and gives traders on both side of the Tasman a competitive advantage,” Ms Tremain said.

At the Council sessions, the Department also formally agreed to work towards mutual recognition of respective supply chain security programmes with the Canada Border Service Agency, Hong Kong Customs and Excise and Singapore Customs. These agreements were made through the signings of Statements of Intent and Action plans. The Department also reaffirmed Authorized Economic Operator cooperation with China with the signing of the latest schedule of the Strategic Partnership Program.

Meanwhile, Australian Trusted Trader began on 1 July 2016 and is progressing well. Over 200 Australian businesses have expressed their interest in the programme since the beginning of July. Teys Australia Beenleigh Pty Ltd is the first accredited Trusted Trader and 31 businesses are currently in the process of becoming accredited.

Article courtesy of Lloyds List, July 20th 2016.