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S'pore-certified firms will clear Australian customs faster

Companies that have been certified by the Singapore Customs for adhering to robust security practices can now enjoy a faster customs clearance process for goods that they export to Australia, the agency for trade facilitation and revenue enforcement said yesterday.

Certified Singapore firms will also be subject to reduced documentary and cargo inspections. The same will be applied to Australian companies that are certified by the Australian Border Force (ABF) for goods that they export to Singapore.

The move was recognised under a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of Authorised Economic Operator programmes signed by Singapore Customs and the ABF yesterday that aims to foster closer customs collaboration and elevate bilateral trade ties between the two countries.

The MRA comes under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed between Singapore and Australia in 2015. Singapore is the first Asean country to sign an MRA with Australia.

"The Australia-Singapore MRA recognises the compatibility of the supply chain security measures implemented by companies certified under Singapore Customs' Secure Trade Partnership programme and the trusted companies of the ABF's Australian Trusted Trader programme," Singapore Customs said.

The agreement was signed yesterday by Singapore's director-general of Customs Ho Chee Pong, and the commissioner of ABF and comptroller-general of customs Michael Outram, in Singapore.

"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 Authorised Economic Operators in both countries," Mr Ho said.

"As major trading partners, I am confident that this new MRA of our respective Authorised Economic Operator programmes will bring about much benefit to our businesses and boost bilateral trade," he added.

Mr Outram said: "The signing of the Authorised 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.

"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."