On July 25, 2017, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) announced that they had signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement with Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection.  What this means is that Australia will recognize Canada’s trusted trader program called “Partners in Protection“(“PIP”) and Canada will recognize Australia’s trusted trader program.

Canada’s PIP Program is a cooperative trusted traveller program between the Government of Canada (in particular, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”)) and private businesses engaged in importing and exporting activities (and suppliers thereto).  The purpose of the PIP program is cross-border trade chain security and trade facilitation of legitimate cargo by reducing risks to Canada’s security, health, environment and economy from supplier to customer origin to destination.  While the PIP Program clearly has a trade chain security objective, it also has as an objective the facilitated clearance of legitimate cargo and use of FAST lanes at the border.

The PIP Program is a voluntary program pursuant to which private businesses may apply and demonstrate that they pose low risk to trade chain security and, therefore, are trusted businesses.  Private businesses must provide detailed information, which will be provided to the CBSA, the United States Department of Homeland Security and other governmental agencies.  There is no statutory obligation to participate in the discretionary and regulatory PIP Program.

There is no membership fee to participate in the PIP Program.  Participants in the PIP Program are required to satisfy terms and conditions in order to join the PIP Program.  In addition, participants in PIP must continue to abide by the rules of the PIP Program in order to remain in the PIP Program.

Australian Trusted Trader Program (“TTP”) is a voluntary trade facilitation initiative. It recognises businesses with a secure supply chain and compliant trade practices, rewarding accredited businesses with a range of trade facilitation benefits. The TTP allows accredited entities that meet or exceed international supply chain security and trade compliance standards to benefit from “reduced regulatory burden and streamlined customs processes”.  Australia lists the entities who have been accredited in the TTP.

Canada has signed Mutual Recognition Agreements with the Customs Administrations of Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.  Canada has also signed Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs) with Argentina, Chile, China, the European Community, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States to share customs information to prevent, investigate and combat customs offences.

Companies that trade between Canada and Australia who are already approved by either Canada or Australia will receive mutual recognition.  Companies that are engaged in trade should consider joining a trusted traveler program so that trade can be expedited.  Companies will benefit when the border thickens for any reason.

Is this a pre-step to a free trade agreement between Canada and Australia?  We were going to have TPP until the United States terminated its participation.  Maybe, this is a good sign that a new and smaller TPP is in the works.

For more information about Canada’s Partners in Protection Program, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or email at