31 August 2022

The Australian Border Force’s exporting evolution

The Australian Border Force plays a crucial role in enabling legitimate trade and travel. Here’s how the organisation has evolved to keep pace with new export trends.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) plays a unique role in Australian life. 

As the country’s customs service, it serves a dual role. It protects Australia and smooths the flow of goods for Aussie exporters. 

‘The ABF shares a responsibility to protect the safety and security of Australia and its people with industry,’ says ABF Superintendent Australian Trusted Trader Operations, Martin Moseley. 

‘We focus on optimising the border experience for legitimate traders, so they can get their goods to market quickly and safely. By enabling exports, we support the growth of Australia’s economy.’ 

What makes a legitimate trader today? Superintendent Moseley stresses that companies must think of their business as one part of a larger supply-chain continuum. 

‘Do your homework,’ he says. ‘Understand the credibility, compliance and transparency of your suppliers and third-party partners. Their level of compliance will impact your business.’ 

The Australian Trusted Trader program 

To facilitate trade for exporters, the ABF runs the Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) program. 

‘ATT is free and accredits Australian businesses who can demonstrate compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain,’ explains Superintendent Moseley. ‘Once accredited, businesses have access to a range of benefits that simplify customs processes.’ 

Superintendent Moseley points to Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) as one of the most significant benefits for exporters in this program. Advantages include faster clearance times, reducing storage-related costs, and more efficient dealings with overseas customs authorities. This means exporters gain faster access to international markets. 

Find out more about the ATT program.

‘Since 2016, the ABF has negotiated 9 signed MRAs, including with 5 of Australia’s top 10 two-way trading partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand,’ says Superintendent Moseley.

Constant evolution at country borders 

Superintendent Moseley says 3 major factors have transformed the way countries export over the 60-year history of the Australian Export Awards: 

  1. The development of the internet in connecting the world.
  2. Faster and cheaper transportation, making exporting more achievable.
  3. The invention of containerisation (the practice of consolidating multiple cargo shipments in a standardised ocean container for transport as a single unit) in increasing export volumes. 

The ABF has evolved with these changes to keep pace with the growth of modern trade. 

‘We continue to develop key legislative reforms and adopt modernisation initiatives to ensure we can meet our mission of securing Australia’s borders,’ says Superintendent Moseley. 

‘At the same time, we continue to facilitate legitimate trade for compliant traders.’ 

Images courtesy of Australian Border Force

Combating crime in a connected world 

Superintendent Moseley stresses that the ABF continues to maintain effective controls to combat cross-border crime and terrorism. 

‘We are consciously adapting to effectively mitigate these risks,’ he says. 

‘We’re moving away from assessing risk at a transactional level at the border to assessing risk in the context of the supply-chain continuum, before, at and after the border. This has been a fundamental shift in thinking and operation that improves the way we work.’ 

Australian Export Awards as a positive engagement platform 

The ABF has supported the Australian Export Awards in different capacities since 2014. 

‘Our relationships with industry are critical to achieving our mission and vision in the ABF,’ notes Superintendent Moseley. ‘Partnering with the Australian Export Awards provides us with a platform to engage positively with Australia’s exporters.’ 

It also allows the ABF to remain responsive and accountable as an organisation. This aligns with the organisation’s intention to engage with industry in meaningful ways. 

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