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Customs Compliance: Are you a compliant trader?

Customs Compliance: Are you a compliant trader?

Leonie Ferretter and Melissa McCosker discuss the Australian Border Force's recent Goods Compliance Update report.


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The recent Goods Compliance Update (GCU) (PDF 1MB) issued by the Australian Border Force (ABF) contains significant information about how ABF plans to deliver the compliance function in a dynamic environment extending across government and industry. A key theme is on voluntary compliance and risk based assessments, with the Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) programme a key component of this approach.

Australian Trusted Trader

The advantages of becoming an ATT took another step forward with the recent announcement of the following additional benefits:

  • new Mutual Recognition Arrangements with Korea, Canada and Hong Kong, reducing regulatory burdens between Australia and these countries for ATTs 
  • introduction of a streamlined application and 
  • from 15 November, single import declarations for consolidated cargo shipments. 

The ABF sees ATT accreditation as of vital importance from a compliance and trade modernisation perspective. It is KPMG’s view that all importers and exporters will eventually need to become Trusted Traders, and we suggest companies familiarise themselves with ATT sooner rather than later.


The ABF has increased its compliance activity in the past financial year, emphasising:

  • any level of asbestos in a product is a prohibited importation
  • the accurate use of aircraft parts, materials and test equipment concessions
  • post-importation verification reviews for compliance with tariff advices and
  • consignment and transhipment rules for Free Trade Agreements which may void preferential duty claims.

For the period, voluntary disclosures of ‘understated revenue’ accounted for $34,584,267. ABF’s post transaction verification audits realised a further $35,873,940. Sixty three infringement notices for “false and misleading statements” were also issued.

With the vast majority of companies relying upon third parties to report and make customs decisions on their behalf, independent reviews of information reported to ABF and voluntary disclosures remain the first line of defence for all traders.

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