Hong Kong exports eased by new customs deal

| February 6, 2018

Australian Trusted Trader businesses exporting to Hong Kong will benefit from a more streamlined customs process from the 1st of March following the signing of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).

MRAs reward Australian firms which have gained Trusted Trader status with faster access to international markets through reciprocal arrangements with MRA partner countries.  Recognition of the ATT logo in these nations also builds confidence in Australian businesses and the security of their international supply chain.

Acting Australian Border Force Commissioner, Michael Outram said the MRA will help Australian traders delivering goods to Asian markets.

“Businesses who have already qualified as Australian Trusted Traders will enjoy specialised border treatment, helping their products reach the increasingly important and profitable Asian market, a process that will be reciprocated for Hong Kong traders who fall under the agreement,” he said.  “In 2017 Australian exports to Hong Kong were valued at $12.9 billion, and we are confident this arrangement will help boost this trade even further.”

Australia’s Trusted Trader and Hong Kong’s Authorized Economic Operator Program give businesses the opportunity to be part of a worldwide network, which recognises and rewards businesses with compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain.

“The ABF is committed to working with industry to uphold and improve our strong borders, and Trusted Trader is one of the ways we are rewarding those businesses that help us achieve this,” said Acting Commissioner Outram.

“This arrangement strengthens the relationship between Australian and Hong Kong customs administrations, and fosters increased trade flows,” he added.

The Australia-Hong-Kong MRA was signed in July 2017, and entered a pilot phase, which is now complete.

Australia already has MRAs with New Zealand, South Korea and Canada, and is negotiating similar agreements with other key trading partners including Singapore, Thailand and China.

Becoming an Australian Trusted Trader

MRAs are only one of the benefits of gaining Australian Trusted Trader status as the programme rewards accredited businesses with a growing range of other trade facilitation benefits to improve international market access.

These include priority trade services when requesting duty drawbacks, refunds, and advanced rulings on tariff, valuation and origin though the National Trade Advice Centre.  Participating firms also have a dedicated Account Manager offering the single point of contact between the business and the Australian Border Force.

Provision for Consolidated Cargo Clearance also allows Trusted Trader importers, or their licensed customs brokers’, to lodge a single import declaration for consolidated cargo for all sea cargo types and air frieght.

Member firms receive a monthly report on all goods imported and exported under the business’ ABN and can use a streamlined processes to become an Accredited Sponsor under the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (subclass 457) Programme.

They also have a ‘seat at the table’ to work in partnership with the Department and ABF, including an invitation to the annual ATT Symposium for accredited firms.

Further benefits for Trusted Traders will be implemented during the 2017-18 financial year, including access to duty deferral arrangements. Additional perks under negotiation with participating countries for future implementation include secure trade lanes, enhanced cross-agency collaboration with other border agencies and improved labour mobility and trade in services.