Automatic Entry Processing (AEP) Reform

​​​​​​Regulatory reform is one of the key priorities for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

This information is relevant to Biosecurity Industry Participants (BIPs) and Accredited Persons operating under the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Approved Arrangement Class 19.2: Automatic Entry Processing for Commodities (AEPCOMM). Our reform of this Approved Arrangement (AA) is an opportunity to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our existing arrangements.

This project provides key benefits for both the department and industry, and is considered a priority by both parties.

Issues identified

Of the issues recognised as limiting the uptake and expansion of AEPCOMM, three main issues were identified:

  • low number of commodities ​and types of entries currently available to be processed through AEPCOMM
  • complexity of commodity pathways outlined in the Requirements for approved arrangement class 19.2 document (previously the Processes and Outcomes Document or POD)
  • management of non-compliance.

To address these issues, we have identified a number of process improvements to increase the current uptake of AEPCOMM and the volume of entries processed. Currently 50% of all entries referred to the department could be processed through AEPCOMM however, only 16% are.

Process improvements will be progressed in two phases. Updated information on phase 1 and 2 changes will be provided through stakeholder engagement and Continued Biosecurity Competency (CBC) sessions.

Phase 1 changes – summary

As of May 6, 2017 the scope of the AEPCOMM AA has been expanded to include new commodities. Additionally some processing pathways were removed from the scope in March 2017. Removal of these pathways from the scope was due to changes in import conditions, inspection processes, and take up of other schemes.

Some commodity groups that have been expanded contain what is referred to as sub-commodity groups. Tariffs from different sub-commodity groups classified under one commodity group can now be processed on the same import declaration under the AEPCOMM AA (for example used machinery and used passenger vehicles).

Commodity and sub-commodity groups are defined in Table C1 of the updated Requirements for approved arrangement class 19.2: AEPCOMM (v4.0)​ document.

  • New commodities added to the AEPCOMM AA are now available to process under the AEPCOMM AA.
  • BICON has also been updated to include AEPCOMM codes for the added commodities Please note that commodity groups not listed here remain unchanged within the scope of the AEPCOMM AA.

Please note that commodity groups not listed here remain unchanged within the scope of the AEPCOMM AA.

Please contact the Broker Engagement team if you have any queries or encounter any issues.

A summary of the implemented changes are:

Finfish and molluscs

AEPCOMM pathways have been expanded to include imports from all countries and FCL and LCL cargo types. Additionally tariffs for frozen molluscs have also been added.

There are no restrictions on NZ finfish for AEPCOMM. It can be processed through the arrangement in consumer ready form, eviscerated and whole. Tariff classifications from 0302, 0303 and 0304 are in scope. The main out of scope tariffs are for Salmonidae species.

For consumer ready finfish from all countries, the only tariff group that can be processed through AEPCOMM is 0304.

Vehicles and machinery

Tariffs for these two groups have been combined and are able to be processed together in the same entry provided they meet all requirements and have the same onshore outcome. For example if an accredited person has an import declaration that contains a used passenger vehicle and used machinery and BICON stipulates an onshore outcome of inspection for both commodities, the accredited person can process the entry under the arrangement.

Manufactured wooden articles

Tariffs for bamboo and rattan have been added to this group. Additionally, the structure of BICON case for these commodities has changed, for example plywood and veneer sheets are now classified as Highly Processed Wooden Articles and can be processed through the AEPCOMM arrangement together with other articles of this group.

The only outcome available under AEPCOMM is ‘Release’. Outcomes for inspection and fumigation have been removed.

Unfinished timber

This is a new commodity group. It includes tariffs for sawn timber, wooden joinery and builders’ joinery. Within this group there are some restrictions on what can be processed through AEPCOMM that accredited persons need to be aware of.

The restrictions align with certain pathways in the new Timber BICON case structure and they will be apply to:

  • Myrtaceous species
  • Pathogen risk species (with the exception of New Zealand)
  • Timber imported under the Canadian Accredited Timber Scheme

Milled rice

The pathway for milled rice in bags greater than 25kg and bulk in the container has been removed from AEPCOMM. Milled rice packed in bags smaller or equal to 25kg is still in scope of AEPCOMM.

Milled products

This is a new commodity group. It includes tariffs for commodities such as flour and starch for human consumption.

Two outcomes (release and inspection) will be available for tariffs under this group. Restrictions apply to applicable products from Khapra and non-Khapra bettle countries. Also it is important to note that only products for human consumption can be processed under AEPCOMM. Products such as stockfeed must not be processed through AEPCOMM.

Removed commodity groups

The following commodity groups were removed from the scope of the AEPCOMM Approved Arrangement in March 2017:

  • Green coffee beans
  • Fresh asparagus
  • Fresh tomatoes from New Zealand


For assurance around the phase 1 commodity expansion we will be conducting some targeted verification activities upon implementation of the changes. This will involve monitoring import declarations that have been successfully processed through AEPCOMM.

As part of this verification the department may request supporting documentation for a small volume of import declarations from BIPs to verify that they have been assessed and lodged in accordance with the arrangement. This verification will be outside of the standard import declaration audits. No fees will apply for the verification activities.

Results of the verification will be used to inform the project team around further expansion for phase 2.

Phase 2 changes

Phase 2 involves enhancing our IT systems to support more commodities and increase the uptake of AEPCOMM. Detailed business requirements for an enhancement to the Agriculture Import Management System (AIMS) have been provided to our IT department and they are progressing these changes as a priority.

Audit and sanctions policy

We are currently reviewing the audit and sanctions policy and are aiming to implement a modern auditing system that aligns with Service Delivery Modernisation initiatives by the department. As part of the reform we have identified four key principals that Audit and Sanctions policy should address:

  • simplicity
  • proportional response
  • ensuring due process
  • informed compliance.

AEPCOMM provides an efficient means for clearing consignments and reduces the load on the department’s Assessment Service Group (ASG). As part of implementing the phase 1 changes, we would like to encourage brokers to utilise your AEPCOMM accreditation for lodgements of approved commodities.

If you require any assistance or support in using AEPCOMM please email the Broker Engagement team.