On 3 July 2013 the Australian Customs and Border Protection
Service ("Customs") released its
Blueprint for Reform 2013-2018.
This follows an announcement late last year by the Minister for
Home Affairs, the Hon Jason Clare, that there would be a "root
and branch reform" of Customs.
As could be expected given the current political climate, a
significant focus of the Blueprint is surrounding border security
However, there are also some proposed reforms in respect of
trade, aimed at automating and simplifying border clearance
processes to provide a more seamless approach and encourage trade
to and from Australia.
One of the stated intentions is for importers to provide Customs
with information "once only", which can be re-used
wherever possible for all electronic cargo clearances and to
identify goods of concern before they arrive in Australia.
The key areas of focus to transform trade and goods include:
facilitating trusted trade;
onnecting cargo systems;
the use of eCargo - digital by default; and
improving trade assistance technologies and tools.
There is also some commentary regarding a stronger and smarter
A range of parties, including the Customs Brokers and Forwarders
Council of Australia have been invited to actively engage and
consult with Customs in relation to the Blueprint.
It will be interesting to see how Customs will balance the
legitimate and appropriate aims of ensuring security and integrity
of Australia's borders with improved trade facilitation. There
may be some tension in reconciling these very different but
Obviously any changes to trade facilitation will impact
importers, exporters and service providers. It is important that
any changes are implemented in a practical and efficient manner
taking into account all of the relevant stakeholders.
We will continue to keep you informed about progress of the
initiatives contained in the Blueprint. If you have any queries
about the Blueprint or wish to participate in providing feedback to
Customs, please feel free to contact us.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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