Australia and Singapore have forged a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs, allowing low-risk companies from both sides to enjoy faster Customs clearance for goods shipped to the other country.
Singapore Customs and Australian Border Force (ABF) signed the MRA of AEO programs on May 31, 2018, according to a release from the World Customs Organization (WCO).
“Through this arrangement, Singapore companies certified as having lower risks will enjoy faster Customs clearance with reduced documentary and cargo inspections with respect to their goods exported to Australia. Likewise, Australian companies that are certified by Australian Border Force will enjoy similar facilitation for their goods exported to Singapore,” WCO said.
Singapore is the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country to sign an MRA with Australia. The Australia-Singapore MRA recognizes the compatibility of the supply chain security measures implemented by companies certified under Singapore Customs’ Secure Trade Partnership program and the trusted companies of the ABF’s Australian Trusted Trader program, which are based on the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards.
As an initiative under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, signed by Singapore and Australia in 2015 to deepen existing areas of cooperation and catalyze new ones, the MRA is set to foster closer Customs collaboration and elevate bilateral trade ties.
“The signing of this MRA reinforces the commitment of both our Customs administrations to maintain the security of regional and global supply chains, and to facilitate legitimate trade undertaken by Authorized Economic Operators in both countries,” said Singapore’s director-general of Customs Ho Chee Pong.
“The signing of the Authorized Economic Operator-MRA will further strengthen our close cooperation at the borders and smoothen the passage of goods between our two countries of trusted traders,” said Australia’s comptroller-general of Customs Michael Outram.
“It will also help us facilitate and support these companies that do the right thing, and help us focus our resources on finding and dealing with companies and people who do not do the right thing.”
To date, Singapore has signed MRAs with eight Customs administrations: Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Australia has MRAs with six Customs administrations: Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Canada, and New Zealand.
Photo: Ken Hodge