The "Trusted Trader" scheme for importers may not be all it claims

This is a brief word of caution to importers to carefully consider the current claims by various parties that Trusted Trader (TT) will provide the importer with substantial benefits. Consider for example the oft hyped "savings" that are being promoted in the context of these two scenarios:

  1. Duty deferral - your customs broker already gives you this. How many companies pay at 30 or even 60 days? Under TT the funds will be deducted by EFT direct from your bank account every month.
  2. Reduced costs for customs clearance - the ABS position has so far been that it still requires all the data currently included in the import declaration. This means that the data preparation, review and input for each consignment for Customs clearance will take the brokerage as long, and use as many resources as, currently. Further, as actual lodgement will be required only once a month it is probable that costs will actually increase as new software will have to be developed to sweep the system for data already lodged and awaiting transmission and then massage it into the required format to send one report to DIBP. These costs will be passed on.
  3. Establishing acceptable supply chain security will be an issue for many companies with numerous suppliers, especially those with suppliers in Asia, given the documentary problems that often arise with those consignments.

I'm sure that there will be many other matters that come to the fore as the programme is initiated. I see benefits for myself in compliance auditing, as do other Customs consultants with (and sometimes without) the requisite qualifications and experience, but that doesn't mean that TT is for everyone, whether or not they are a large company. Think therefore before you act and don't sign up to anything until you understand what you have committed to.

As always, happy to discuss and assist both industry and the importing community.