A step forward for simpler trade between New Zealand and Singapore

The New Zealand Customs Service has signed an arrangement with Singapore that will help to make trade simpler for exporters.

A cooperation arrangement with Singapore Customs and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) was signed electronically by New Zealand Customs Comptroller and Chief Executive, Christine Stevenson, the Director General of Singapore Customs, Mr Tan Hung Hooi, and the Chief Executive of the IMDA, Mr Lew Chuen Hong on 12 April 2024.

The Arrangement on Facilitating Safe and Efficient Trade sets out a framework for developing and strengthening practical cooperation on trade and the use of emerging technology.

This includes exploring the use of TradeTrust, a trade tool developed by IMDA, which utilises blockchain technology to digitalise border processes, speed up trade and reduce both costs and the risks of fraud.

The arrangement also opens the door to exploring connectivity between New Zealand and Singapore Customs’ Single Window portals, and the harmonisation of customs procedures and data.

Mr Jamie Bamford, Customs Deputy Chief Executive – International and Governance, welcomed this latest step towards more seamless trade with New Zealand’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia.

“We share a valuable trade relationship with Singapore and collaborate closely with them across a range of issues. This arrangement brings us even closer, enabling our agencies to further modernise our systems and which ultimately will help businesses have a smoother exporting experience.”

Mr Lim Teck Leong, Singapore Customs’ Deputy Director-General, said, “With the signing of the Arrangement on Facilitating Safe and Efficient Trade, we will explore connecting our single window platforms with a view of making trading between Singapore and New Zealand safer, faster and more cost-effective.”

Mr Leong Der Yao, IMDA’s Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation Group, said, “Singapore and New Zealand have established a good dialogue on facilitating the digitalising of cross-border trade transactions. The agreement will further strengthen the partnership for technology collaboration, including technology standards development and pursuing pilot projects to validate the benefits of using TradeTrust for trade documents. As we move forward, I am confident that this will benefit Singapore and New Zealand, and also set an example for international trade partnerships globally.”

This arrangement builds on the existing travel and trade modernisation commitments between New Zealand and Singapore made under the bilateral Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), and Closer Economic Partnership Agreement Upgrade (CEP).

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