Simplified trade reforms

Improving Australia’s trade system.

Reform progress

Results achieved by the Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce over the past 3 years showed benefits to business. This included delivery of regular changes, co-designed with business, to incrementally simplify the process for imports and exports.

Reforms implemented

  • A Customs Regulatory Sandbox established under the Customs Act 1901 to facilitate time-limited, controlled trials. It uses an innovative regulatory framework to drive evidence-based reform to Australian customs legislation. 
  • The Go Global Toolkit is a single source of online information on how to export priority sector goods. It includes regulatory and border compliance requirements. 
  • A Biosecurity Portal gives import clients the ability to make and manage inspection booking requests. They can also view direction information and lodge inspection outcomes 24/7 through an online system. 
  • An Integrated Cargo System (ICS) real-time notifications function for industry ICS system degradation and outages. This is through client self-registration and providing SMS and/or email customer notification functionality. 

Reforms underway

  • The Digital Trade Accelerator Program (DTAP) will deliver 2 small and targeted investment in digital projects. This will have early benefits for business and government over 2 years:
    • targeting cargo for border and biosecurity protection through improved customs and risk assessments
    • improving business productivity by facilitating how government connects with, and shares trade-related data with business, initially for cargo clearance status. 
  • A cross-border trade data sharing framework developed with agencies and business will standardise and share cross-border trade data between agencies by default. This will simplify future cross-border trade processes. 
  • Foundations to enable the single trade environment will modernise the Integrated Cargo System (ICS). This includes updating current data interchanges between government and business, improving ICS user interfaces, and piloting myGovID access. 
  • Legislative amendments to the Customs Act 1901 will strengthen the customs licensing regime and digitise customs processes for the return of seized goods. It will also reduce administrative burdens through streamlined processes. This is subject to parliamentary processes. 
  • Agricultural traceability and credentials 'ecosystem' work to harmonise traceability standards and data is underway. DAFF is delivering industry grants that support different sectors to expand their traceability capabilities. 
  • Digital Verification Platform (DVP) is an initiative to create and verify digital trade documents. The Australian Border Force (ABF) is delivering the technical platform and planning international trials. ABF completed a successful proof-of-concept using electronic Certificates of Origin in December 2020. Under current funding, the DVP is being upgraded to operational quality, to digitalise high-volume priority trade documents that are paper based. 
  • The Simplified Targeting and Enhanced Processing System (STEPS) initiative will make cargo clearance faster, simpler and support biosecurity management. Benefits to business include reduced delays and costs at the border by making systems more efficient. Delivery is underway including digitising manual processes and documents. 
  • The digital services to take farmers to markets initiative provides streamlined and digital agriculture export services. Benefits include greater transparency to businesses, reducing the time it takes for products to get to export markets, and cutting processing times. Delivery is underway, with benefits to date including an exporter self-service for permits and digital certificates to the European Union. 
  • Exploring options to align Commonwealth legislation with the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) to support transitioning to paperless trade. Led by the Attorney-General's Department, this reform will allow businesses to use electronic versions of trade documents. 
  • Streamlining the Cargo Intervention Model (SCIM) involves co-designing, testing, and evaluating new intervention models. This is through real time trials in the sea cargo environment and developing threat detection prototypes. This work is led by ABF and builds on Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry air cargo supply chain trials. SCIM will reduce inspection times and supply chain delays for traders by up to 90% of current levels. It will also lift ABF cargo intervention capability.

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