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Luxton Welcomes Cer Progress On Customs

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and Border Control Minister John Luxton today welcomed the significant progress that has been made on customs issues as part of the Prime Ministerial Taskforce on CER.

"New Zealand and Australian Customs agencies have been working closely together to harmonise and simplify our systems for some time now. It is in both countries interests to assist the legitimate flow of passengers and goods across the border and reduce the amount of red tape," Mr Luxton said.

"One of the major CER initiatives is to standardise document requirements so that an export document in one country, becomes an import document in the other and vice versa. This will cut paperwork, reduce double-handling and speed up the flow of goods. The reduced compliance costs for trans-Tasman business is good news for exporters, importers and consumers."

"Another area being addressed is common on-line data requirements between New Zealand and Australia. For example common standards for message and data structures, security and data segmentation (including tariff, valuation and origin).

Work is also being progressed on acceptance of each country's tariff decisions and dispute settling mechanisms. Officials are also exploring common audit and compliance procedures to allow trans-Tasman business partnerships to clear cargo with minimum fuss.

"In an age of increasing globalisation, effective border control is crucial to either assisting trade and travel across borders, or obstructing it. The greater flow of goods and passengers has essentially redrawn customs boundaries. I am pleased to note the level of co-operation that exists between our two countries, particularly with advanced passenger information and intelligence exchanges."

Officials are working to an agreed work programme which includes specific milestones for next year.

"I look forward to those initiatives which streamline border initiatives between our two countries and further strengthen ties with our closest economic neighbour," Mr Luxton said."

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