Mutual recognition arrangements expanding under Australian Trusted Traders

Businesses in Singapore and Australia will have increased opportunities for streamlined trade under a new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) that was signed on 31 May 2018. This will create better access to global markets for businesses participating in the Australian Trusted Traders (ATT) program or Singaporean Secure Trade Partnership (STP) program.

The Australia-Singapore MRA has been signed just as the Australia-Canada MRA comes into full effect, following a pilot period. The Australia-Canada MRA enables businesses certified in Canada as Partners in Protection (PIP) to access similar benefits when trading with Australia as they enjoy under other Canadian MRAs, including that with Singapore. Similar to the ATT and STP, PIP is designed to streamline and make border processes more efficient for low-risk, pre-approved businesses recognized as trusted traders. Membership in PIP is voluntary and there is no fee.

The Australia-Singapore MRA will enter into a similar pilot period, during which time ATT and STP compliant businesses will have access to streamlined trade examinations at the border. Under this new MRA, companies participating in either program are certified as lower-risk and thus they will enjoy enhanced border treatment and faster customs clearance, as well as and better access to market when importing or exporting between these countries.

Singapore is the first country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to sign an MRA with Australia. Canada and Singapore have enjoyed benefits under a joint MRA since 2010, at which time Canada entered into MRAs with three Asian nations, being Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Table of Mutual Recognition Arrangements

Australia Canada Singapore
Australia NA
Canada NA
China
Hong Kong
Israel
Japan
Mexico
New Zealand
Singapore NA
South Korea
Taiwan
United States

                             
Accessing the benefits of an MRA

Companies certified under Australia's ATT, Canada's PIP or Singapore's STP program are Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) under the World Customs Organisation Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (Framework). This Framework highlights the need for all stakeholders to implement measures ensuring the security of the supply chain, and for customs administrations globally to establish AEO programs certifying companies that adopt robust security practices.

In many countries including Australia, Canada and Singapore, AEOs receive certain customs benefits to help reduce times at the border, and a reduced risk score, which can result in a lower frequency of examinations at the border. AEOs are accredited as having compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain. Such accreditation helps businesses to provide confidence in their international supply chain, including to AEOs from other countries. Accredited AEOs may include businesses that import, export or provide services that support traders in the international supply chain.

The following table sets out the application steps in each of these three countries:

Australian Trusted Traders:
Applicants must:

Canada Partners in Protection:
Applicants must:

Singapore Secure Trade Partnership:
Applicants must complete TradeFirst self-assessment checklist and achieve a “Premium” band, including by:
  •  implement appropriate trade compliance and international supply chain security measures
  • register for an immiAccount and complete the online application
  • pass an on-site verification process conducted by Australian Border Force assessing ICT, physical and personnel security as well as selection of third party suppliers
  • enter into an ATT Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs

  • submit an application via the Trusted Trader Portal
  • satisfy the eligibility and security requirements
  • have a good record of compliance with the Canada Border Services Agency
  • complete a security profile
  • pass an on-site verification process
  • agree to the PIP Terms and Conditions of Use

Once an application is approved, companies must abide by the roles and responsibilities set forth in the PIP Terms and Conditions of Use.

  • demonstrating that they have instituted security management systems
  • conducting risk assessments of their business operations
  • implementing prescribed security measures under the STP Guidelines

A successful STP-Plus certification lasts for three years before being eligible for renewal.

To date, 93 companies have been certified as STP-Plus by Singapore Customs.

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