Simplifying Australia’s trade system

Strengthening Australia’s reputation as a global leader in trade.

Why we need trade reforms

Cross-border trade is important. In the 2022-23 financial year, two-way trade in goods was worth around $1 trillion, equivalent to 40% of Australia’s GDP.  

The current cross-border trade environment is complex. This impacts Australian businesses’ ability to compete internationally. Overseen by 32 Australian Government agencies, with 145 ICT systems and over 200 regulations for imports and exports, there are substantial opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-border trade. 

A simplified trade system will create a simpler, more effective, and sustainable cross-border trade environment for Australia.  

Simplifying Australia’s trade environment will:

  • strengthen Australia’s reputation as a global leader in trade
  • increase resilience to global border security risks and minimise supply chain disruptions
  • reduce costs for Australian businesses who trade internationally
  • boost local manufacturing and jobs through improved operational efficiency.

Simplified Trade System Unit

The Simplified Trade System (STS) Unit provides integrated advice to government on cross-border trade reforms. It works across government to align current and future regulatory and digital reforms, including the Digital Trade Accelerator Program. It will engage with businesses to inform priorities for reform. 

Key functions of the STS Unit include:

  • strategy and future planning for the STS reforms
  • evaluating STS reforms and monitoring delivery progress
  • engaging across government and business to further progress STS reforms. 

We work with Australian Government agencies responsible for cross-border trade. We have close relationships with state and territory governments, which are critical to our outcomes. 

Key partner agencies include:

  • Attorney-General's Department 
  • Australian Border Force
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Industry, Science and Resources
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. 

Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce

The Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce completed its funded work on 30 June 2024.  

The Taskforce worked with 32 partner agencies. This included the Australian Border Force and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The Taskforce engaged Australian businesses to co-design and progress cross-border trade reforms.  

The Taskforce has completed work to understand the end-to-end experience for imports and exports from the perspective of Australian businesses, supply chain participants and government. The Taskforce provided comprehensive advice to government on reforms to simplify regulation and incrementally improve digital systems. This work has been handed over to the STS Unit and will continue to guide simplified trade reforms’.  

For more information on the work completed by the Taskforce, contact the STS Unit. 

Simplified trade reforms 

Find out more about simplified trade reforms progress.

Contact us