Importers and exporters working in the Australian marketplace need to familiarize themselves with the country's laws and regulations regarding international trade. Goods valued in excess of AUD$1,000 must be cleared through customs and may be subject to quarantine. Requirements are not unreasonable, however, and the country offers rich business opportunities for those who play by the rules.
Export and Import Facts
- Export volume for 2010 was US$210.7 billion
- Leading exports include coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
- Australia's economy is dominated by its services sector, yet it is the agricultural and mining sectors that account for the bulk of Australia's exports
- Import volume for 2010 was US$200.4 billion
- Leading imports include machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts, and crude oil and petroleum products
- Australia has signed free trade agreements with the United States, New Zealand-ASEAN, Singapore, Thailand and Chile and is negotiating free trade agreements with China, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea
Export/ Import Resources
Like most countries, Australia has a list of products that are prohibited or controlled with regard to import and export. The Australian Customs Service provides a broad outline of goods that are prohibited or restricted. It also lists where you can obtain more information about the control and, in the case of restricted goods, the mailing address or e-mail address to use to apply for permission to import.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is an Australian Government agency that oversees import and export of commodities, including security and quality of imported foods, protection against imported agricultural disease and efficient export of Australian commodities. Their requirements are strict, so it's important to abide by their requirements, especially if you're trading in agricultural products or other commodities that fall under their jurisdiction. The agency has also developed a leading export documentation system known as EXDOC that reduces costs and processing times for documents flowing between Australian exporters and Australian government agencies.
Published by the Australian Customs Service, this 54-page guide offers a comprehensive overview of import declaration requirements, procedures and processes in Australia.
Under certain circumstances, some or all of the duty paid on imported goods may be refundable. This page provides a link to a fact sheet about eligibility, as well as information and forms necessary for claiming the refund.
This is the site of the Australian government's export credit agency, and it offers more than just a specialized section for small businesses. It also has current economic information that may affect your business, as well as detailed instructions to find out if you qualify for assistance in launching your export business.
The online home of the Australian government's business initiatives is www.business.gov.au. Among the many useful pages is this brief overview for importers. It includes links to import assistance, as well as information about eligibility for duty-free imports.
Created by the state of Queensland, this fact sheet provides an easy-to-read, effective overview of importing into Australia. The most helpful part: A list of costs to consider.
While, in some cultures, the word "schemes" may seem pejorative, this site actually gives Australian importers information about programs that allow Australians to import goods at no cost or at lower costs.
For Australian businesses interested in exporting, this section of Australia's Business.gov web site coaches them through the process of developing a plan through links to information and resources from across the spectrum of government services.
ExportHub combines Austrade's TradeStart Services and AusIndustry's products and services under one umbrella service location, providing Australian businesses with information and advice on products and services to assist with research, development and bringing products to market. This site has valuable information about reducing the time, cost and risk involved in entering new international markets.
The Austrade site has an impressive directory of export markets around the world. This alphabetical list is hyperlinked so you can choose a country and access information about its population, government, stability, trade regulations, customs and other important data.
AQIS contains the Australian import conditions for more than 20,000 plant, animal, microbial, mineral and human products.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes this information on commodity classification systems in Australia.
TradeStart is a national network of export assistance offices, as well as partnerships between Austrade and a range of organizations-both private and public-throughout Australia. These partners give exporters access to experienced Export Advisors who advise them about issues of international trade.
Australia's economy is inclusive and welcomes trade from every part of the world, as is seen in this extensive list of its bilateral Chambers of Commerce and business associations:
African Chambers of Commerce / Business Associations
Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce / Business Associations
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Australia Bangladesh Business Council
Australia China Business Council
Hong Kong Australia Business Association
Australia India Business Council
Australia Korea Business Council
Australia Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Australia Malaysia Business Council, Inc.
Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council
Australia Philippines Business Council, Inc.
Australia Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ltd.
Australia Taiwan Business Council
Thailand South Australia Business Council
Western Australia-Vietnam Business Council
European Chambers of Commerce / Business Associations
Armenian Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Inc.
Australian-British Chamber of Commerce
European Australian Business Council, Ltd.
Finland Australia Chamber of Commerce
French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Ltd.
Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia
Australian-Maltese Chamber of Commerce
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce Australia
Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia
Swedish-Australia Chamber of Commerce
Swiss Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry