Australia is ranked 19th for imports in the world. Being an outward-looking country, it has strong and enduring trade relations with the rest of the world. Australia's location makes it a favourable place for conducting foreign trade with the Asian markets. Companies in Australia are able to import goods from overseas countries as part of their activities.
45,000 Australian Businesses export their goods and services to the world. Australia imports more goods than it exports.
What are the main imports of Australia? Australia is a major importer of machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts, crude oil and petroleum products. The country's main trading partners are China, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Germany. Australia is also an active member in the WTO, APEC, the G20 and other trade related forums. It has negotiated bilateral trade agreements with a broad range of countries in order to strengthen foreign trade and investment flows.
It is also worth mentioning that Australia is characterized by a very open market with minimal restrictions on imports of products and services. However businesses considering importing into Australia need to be aware of government regulations, duty taxes, permits including clearance by the Australian Customs that apply to imported goods. Imports that do not meet these requirements can be seized by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
Importing products to sell them in Australia is an attractive business proposition. The Export Portal Directory allows you to search for a wide range of Australian companies and suppliers , their products and services. You can either browse by selecting an industry category or simply enter a keyword into the search bar. Export Portal will help you to promote Australian products and services to overseas buyers through its website.
The economy of Australia is one of the largest economies in the world. The country was ranked 19th for both exports and imports in the world. Australia signed free trade agreements with numerous countries such as the United States, Singapore, Chile and Thailand. Australian agriculture feeds 60 million people around the world each year.
Why buy from Australia? The main reason of exporting from Australia lies in the quality and safety of the manufacturing and packaging elements of product production. In some aspects, the standards even exceed those required by the US and the EU.
Importers of consumer products will find a ready market as the "Aussie"products are already marketed simply by being made in Australia. People associate Australia with sun, outdoors, young, sand and beach. The keywords related to the Australian brand are healthy, natural, beautiful, optimistic. A recent Research conducted by the Australian Made Campaign in the US has proved that "'pure and natural' and 'unique' are amongst the two strongest attributes of Australian products in the eyes of the consumer".
The combination of such positioning in the global market as well as the active marketing campaigns undertaken frequently by the Australian government assures the importer of a market ready for Australian retail products.
Australian companies are keen to innovate and they are often happy to collaborate with overseas companies to satisfy specific requirements.
Being rich in natural resources, the country is a major exporter of commodities. Metals like iron-ore and gold make up 28 percent of total exports. Manufactured goods account for 33 percent of the total exports with food, metal products, machinery and equipment accounting for the biggest share. Australia's largest export markets are China, Japan, South Korea, India and the European Union countries.
Export Portal, the global online marketplace will help grow your business, reach exporters from Australia and receive buyer enquiries. Search for Australian exporters, export products and produce.
Customs requirements of Australia
Australia Customs Contacts
Address: 6 Chan Street, Belconnen ACT 2617, Canberra, Australia
Telephone: +61 2 6264 1111
Fax: + 61 2 6225 6970
Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the world's 12th-largest economy. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
There is no requirement for importers (companies or individuals) to hold an import licence to import goods into Australia. However, depending on the nature of the goods and regardless of value, importers may need to obtain permits to clear certain imported goods from customs control. Importers are required, amongst other things, to ensure that imported goods are correctly labelled. For example, imported goods that require a trade description must be marked with the name of the country in which the goods were made or produced, and where specified, a true description of the goods.
Import entry costs
A listing of all current fees and charges for declarations that we collect is summarised in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Notice No. 2015/44.
While there are several methods of valuing goods for customs purposes, the method most applied (transaction value) is based on the price actually paid (or payable) for the imported goods subject to certain adjustments.
A major condition for using the transaction value is that there is no relationship between the buyer and seller which may influence the price.
Rules of origin
Rules of origin are the rules applied to determine from which country a good originates for international trade purposes.
Rules of origin are necessary for preferential reasons i.e. determining eligibility for benefits such as reduced rates of duty.
The Australian Business Number
If you have an Australian Business Number (ABN) you will need to supply it to us when formally entering goods. You need to be registered for GST purposes and have an ABN in order to claim input tax credits or access the GST deferral scheme.
For advice on any GST matters, including registration, deferral and claiming of input credits, contact your local taxation office.
Commerce Trade Descriptions
Importers are required to ensure that goods entering the commerce of Australia are correctly labelled. It is an offence to import goods that do not bear a required trade description, or bear a false trade description.
Imported goods that require a trade description must be marked with the name of the country in which the goods were made or produced, and where specified, a true description of the goods.
When a trade description is required, it must be:
- in the English language
- in prominent and legible characters
- on a principal label or brand affixed in a prominent position and in as permanent a manner as practicable
- if labelling on the goods includes a weight or quantity, it must also say if that weight or quantity is net or gross.
Any other information included must not contradict or obscure the required trade description. This includes illustrations, wording or size of lettering.
A false trade description can be any description of goods that is incorrect or misleading. This may include direct or indirect details of size, weight, quality, quantity, origin, manufacturer, ingredients or the application of a patent, privilege or copyright, and includes all possible alterations of a trade description, whether by way of addition, effacement, or otherwise.
A trade description may also be false if information is omitted from the description and this misleads the consumer as to the true description of the goods.
Goods imported in contravention of these regulations may be seized.
Prohibited and restricted imports
The Australian Government controls the import of certain goods into Australia. The controls include:
- an absolute prohibition, where you are not allowed to import the goods in any circumstances, or
- a restriction, where you need to have written permission in order to import the goods.
Detailed info here:
The export of goods from Australia is controlled by laws and Government policies to:
- prohibit the export of certain goods either absolutely or conditionally;
- and adequately record Australia's international trade.
Total prohibition applies to the export of protected wildlife, some heritage items, selected weapons and other dangerous goods. Goods which are conditionally prohibited from export may not be exported unless all necessary export permits are obtained from the relevant permit issuing agency.
Further, goods may not be exported, or loaded on a ship or aircraft for export, unless they have been entered for export (some exemptions apply) and the Department has given approval to export by means of a "cleared" Export Declaration Number (EDN).
Ships or aircraft may not depart from Australia unless the Department has issued a Certificate of Clearance. A certificate will not be issued unless all Commonwealth requirements about the ship or aircraft and its cargo have been met.
Accurate export data entered in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) helps us have an enhanced ability to undertake border protection and improve Australia's international trade statistics.
Accurate export data is highly important to the Government and the private sector for various reasons, for example:
- We use export entry data when risk assessing outbound cargo to ensure that relevant border controls are maintained and that government revenue is protected
- Australian and overseas investors use export statistics to conduct market research and identify business opportunities
- Export statistics are used to monitor and assess market share and trading patterns.
An Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) is an eight digit code used to classify goods for export. The AHECC is maintained by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and can be accessed from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Prohibited and restricted exports:
- Biological agents
- Cat and dog fur (restricted export)
- Certain chemical compounds
- Credit cards - counterfeit
- Cultural and heritage goods
- Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises)
- Defence and Strategic Goods
- Diamonds - Kimberley Process
- Endangered animal and plant species - CITES
- Firearms, parts, accessories and ammunition (Commercial Exports)
- Hazardous waste
- Human blood and tissue
- Nuclear Material
- Ozone depleting substances/Synthetic Greenhouse Gases (restricted exports)
- Pornography and other objectionable material
- Precursor substances
- Prescription medicines
- Radioactive Sources
- Radioactive waste
- Sanctioned Countries/Entities
- Security Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN)
- Wine and brandy