Sydney Opera House in Australia at night

6 Things to Consider When Exporting to Australia

Have you considered exporting to Australia? If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a strong chance of its success in Australia. With few barriers to entry, a familiar legal framework and an English-speaking business culture, Australia remains an attractive market for British products and services with few risks to conducting business. If you’re ready to take advantage of the opportunities Australia offers for your business, here are 6 things to consider.

1. Import Restrictions

Australia has very strict restrictions on products that may contaminate the country’s agricultural industry or environment. See a full list of restricted and prohibited products.

The type and value of the products you export to Australia may incorporate costs such as clearance fees, customs duty, goods and services tax. The Australian Border Force website can provide you with information on clearance requirements and permits.

If your goods contain industrial chemicals like cosmetics, plastics, inks or toiletries, you will need to register your business with the Australian Government’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) and pay registration fees.

2. Standards and Technical Regulations

There are some Australian standards which may require your product to be modified, or impact how it enters the market. Certification marks are used in Australia to indicate if a product or service fulfills specified legal requirements. Product Safety Australia provides an overview of Australia’s product safety law.

All pre-packaged goods must also comply with Australia’s trade measurement laws:

National Measurement Act 1960

National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009

3. Route to Market

If you’re not knowledgeable about international shipping procedures you can use a freight forwarder to move your goods. A forwarder will have extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices in Australia. When finding a freight forwarder that’s right for you, make sure they have insurance and can keep you HMRC compliant. Experience should also be desired.

Freight ship to Australia

Distance and time zone differences may mean it’s most effective to use a local agent or distributor. A local point of contact is important to ensure timely responses to customer queries or any issues with your product/service.

If you’re selling online, selling directly to customers may be preferable. This means you handle all the processes involved in marketing, selling, sending overseas and getting paid. We offer businesses free one-to-one support with one of our International e-Commerce Advisers. They can work closely with you to clarify your digital objectives and to help you build a unique and specific e-Commerce strategy.

4. VAT

The UK and Australia have signed a double taxation agreement which should prevent any double tax liability from UK and Australian authorities over the same income. If your company profits money from your exports that has been taxed in Australia, it shouldn’t be taxed again in the UK.

You can apply zero-rated VAT to the sale of goods exported to Australia providing you can evidence that the goods were exported.

5. Getting Paid

Laptop, Pen and Invoice

A secure term of payment when exporting to Australia is to ask the buyer for pre-payment. However, while this limits your risks as the exporter, the buyer has to trust that you will deliver quality products on time. A solution may be to ask for an advanced partial payment.

For security, a Letter of Credit can be used to guarantee that you will be paid. In this instance, the importer’s bank issues a document stating that they will pay you when the terms of the Letter of Credit are fulfilled.

Your customers may ask you to offer credit terms or you may find that you need to match your competitors in this way. You should undertake your own due diligence on buyers and only deliver your goods or services before payment when you have an established trading relationship.

6. Further Opportunities

Exporting to Australia can leverage additional opportunities in other markets and enable further growth. Australia has close trade links to the fast-growing economies of the Asia-Pacific including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.

To find out more about how you can successfully export to Australia, view the webinar recording of the Department for International Trade’s Doing Business in Australia webinar featuring insight from an International Trade Adviser, Australian British Chamber of Commerce, 512 Freight Forwarders and regular exporter to Australia, Footprint Tools.

Play recording (1 hr 18 min)
Recording password: 3McxsP8b