Update on Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce

Friday, June 18, 2021
Further to our FTA/APSA MEMBER ADVOCACY UPDATE - CANBERRA 2 & 3 JUNE 2021 and our meeting with the Hon Dan Tehan (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment), we indicated that an update will soon be released in terms of a Simplified Trade System (STS).

FTA / APSA has since also met with Australian Border Force (ABF) representatives in a Canberra meeting examining opportunities for reform as a part of the 'Regulatory Sandbox' initiative.

We are pleased to advise that we have today received the following detail from the secretariat of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) look forward ongoing engagement with the STS Taskforce and Industry Advisory Council members to participate in statutory , process and systems reform.

As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Government announced further funding of $37.4 million over three years to drive the implementation of the Simplified Trade System (STS) reform agenda. The reforms will enhance the international competitiveness of the Australian economy by creating a simpler 'tell-us-once' digitised trade framework, allowing more Australian businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by international markets as importers and exporters. 
The Government has established a whole-of-government STS Implementation Taskforce (the Taskforce) to drive the STS reforms, which will be led by Mr Randall Brugeaud from 1 July 2021. Mr Brugeaud will report directly to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, as Chair of the Joint Ministerial Taskforce on Simplified Trade.
These next steps in the Government's STS reform agenda build on a range of initiatives underway, including:
  • trials of innovative technologies to tackle business problems, including with major partner countries on authenticating trade documents;
  • launching a major update for the Trade Information Service;  
  • delivering a series of export reforms under the $328 million Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters Package including new digital services and a modernised export certification system;  
  • launching a Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030 Roadmap and continuing investment in biosecurity system improvements;
  • continued development of a regulatory sandbox within the Customs Act to enable small scale trials, to build the evidence base for long term deregulation;
  • testing advanced detection technologies; and
  • developing a new border intervention model for sea and air cargo. 
To ensure STS initiatives deliver meaningful benefits to the Australian trading community, the Taskforce will collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders, including Australian businesses of all sizes, business associations and peak bodies, trade service providers and state and territory governments. Mr Brugeaud will also work closely with relevant Commonwealth Government agencies, including the Australian Border Force, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Deregulation Taskforce. The Taskforce will also engage with the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) forum, as the whole-of-Government strategic advisory forum on future trade facilitation. The ABF will contact NCTF members by early July to arrange an extraordinary NCTF meeting, to provide an opportunity for members to directly discuss the STS reform agenda with the STS Implementation Taskforce.
As a key industry stakeholder, the Taskforce welcomes the opportunity to work with you to better understand business needs and expectations and ensure these drive and inform reforms. Engagement will be through existing consultation mechanisms, new working groups, and directly as the need arises. The STS Industry Advisory Council, chaired by Mr Paul Little AO, will be a valuable resource to guide industry engagement. 
We will be in touch with further details on the Taskforce and how you can be involved. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact SimplifiedTrade@austrade.gov.au
Paul Zalai - Director FTA | Secretariat APSA | Director GSF