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The Carrot and the Stick - Australian Goods Compliance Update

Posted by Steven Roy

1/7/19 6:51 PM

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The final compliance update from the Australian Border Force (ABF) for any year is always an interesting one. Not only does it snapshot the operational statistics of what is, for many, the busiest few months of the year, but it also can potentially give us some insight into the tactical approach of ABF compliance activities for the coming year.

There is no need for speculating this time though, so put down those crystal balls and pack away the tarot cards - this time they are cutting straight to the point:

"Looking to 2019, the ABF will continue to strengthen its capabilities to detect non-compliance and to focus resources on those threats, while further streamlining procedures for those demonstrating strong voluntary compliance behaviours."

The first half of that statement should come as no surprise, as the penalties for non-compliance can be significant, and the emphasis and need for a robust compliance program is well documented.

The Compliance Update specifies areas of 'Specific Interest'. These include, inter alia, the following which Tradewin considers relevant across most supply chains:

  • Trade Compliance: classification, valuation, TCO utilisation & other revenue considerations.
  • Trade Measures: Compliance with FTAs. Risks of self-certification? Watch this space!!!
  • Supply Chain Integrity: internal controls, processes etc.
  • Asbestos: it’s still bigger than Ben Hur

As with past quarters’ reporting, the validity of these focus areas are profound. False or misleading information provided on declarations, whether or not resulting in a short payment of duty, attributes the highest number of Infringement Notices (administrative penalties) raised, as well as the highest value of infringements notices raised. Even more condemning is that of the 1,642 import entry lines that the ABF evaluated, 358 were found to contain errors – in some cases multiple errors. This equates to an error rate (by number of lines) of 21.8%.  No wonder the ABF are seeking to “strengthen capabilities to detect non-compliance

Given that the clearly stated focus of ABF is to improve voluntary compliance, and thus reduce the above error rate, it is imperative that importers understand their current exposures, and where appropriate seek to implement processes to mitigate risk, and maximise opportunities

At Tradewin, we handle the details. If you would like to know more about how you can take control of your customs and trade compliance process to protect and elevate your business, please contact us.

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Written by Steven Roy

Steven joins the Tradewin team with over 15 years of industry experience, including extensive exposure to Customs and freight forwarding practices. Prior to joining Tradewin, Steven was a Customs Brokerage Manager and has successfully counselled clients on intricate supply chain and trade compliance matters, using his strong operational background to clearly explicate sophisticated, yet practical, solutions. His coverage of duty mitigation strategies, regulatory compliance management and interaction with other government agencies regularly includes consideration of excise, countervailing and anti-dumping duties, production assists, Tariff Concession Orders, By-Laws and Biosecurity regulations. Steven is a licensed Customs Broker in Australia, holds accreditation with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and has also completed a Bachelor of Applied Science with Queensland University of Technology.