Exporting guide to Australia

Overview

Australia shares a common language and culture with the UK, as well as business and legal practices such as intellectual property (IP) protection and the rule of law. This makes it easier for UK companies to do business there.

Trade statistics

£10.1 billion total UK exports to Australia for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

15th largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

1.6% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

New opportunities for partnership

The UK has signed an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with Australia. Once the trade deal is implemented, it will deliver a range of benefits for UK businesses including:

  • tariff-free exports of goods
  • unprecedented access for service providers
  • more opportunities to trade digitally

The trade deal, combined with Australia’s stable institutions, sophisticated financial systems and good governance, make it a very attractive market for UK companies.

Ideal test market

With a population of over 25 million, including more than 1 million Britons, Australia is an ideal place to test and develop new products and services. Around three-fifths of the total population live in Australia’s 4 largest cities, making it easy to prioritise where to launch your product or service.

Top five UK goods exported to Australia, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Goods Value (£million)
Medicinal & pharmaceutical products 590.0
Other manufactures (consumer) 348.7
Cars 329.8
Specialised machinery (capital) 230.1
General industrial machinery (capital) 223.6

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Australia.

Top five UK services exported to Australia, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Service Value (£billion)
Other Business Services 1.5
Insurance and Pension 1.4
Financial 0.8
Telecommunications, computer and information services 0.6
Transportation 0.4

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Australia.

Australia: at a glance

Economic growth

4.7%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.4% (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

GDP per capita

$52,848

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected figure)

Currency

Australian dollar

Business languages

English

Time zone

GMT +10

Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. The other time zones are GMT +8, GMT +9.5

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Opportunities for exporters

Opportunities exist for UK companies across a wide range of sectors, including financial services and fintech, technology, cyber security and infrastructure.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Australia

Preparing to export

VAT

You can zero-rate the sale of goods exported to Australia. You must get evidence that the goods were exported and keep it as part of your records. There’s also a 10% tax on the sale of most goods and services.

Find more information on VAT in non-EU markets.

Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate in Australia is 30% for income after July 2015, or 28.5% if you are a small to medium size business.

Read more about corporate tax in Australia.

Import regulations

The Australian Border Force regulates all goods imported into Australia. You’ll need to provide import declarations and documents and pay all relevant duties and taxes.

You should check you’ve paid excise duty on any alcohol, fuel, tobacco or other excise equivalent products you send to Australia.

Quarantine regulations

Australia’s biosecurity measures aim to prevent disease and pests entering the country through a strict inspection or treatment regime. There’s little you can do if your shipment encounters quarantine issues at Australian customs.

Check whether your goods are subject to biosecurity import conditions in Australia and its external territories.

Product standards

Though Australia has adopted international standards where possible, there are Australian standards with no international equivalent which may require your product to be modified, or impact how your product enters the market.

Check Australia’s voluntary standards, mandatory standards and codes of practice to make sure you’re meeting legal requirements for products.

Packaging and labelling

Packaging must meet Australian consumer health and environmental legislation. There are specific labelling requirements for:

  • chemical products
  • cosmetics
  • electronic goods
  • foodstuffs
  • most therapeutic products

All labelling must use the metric system.

You can read guidance on food labelling from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Australia.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Australia

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Payment terms

Payment conditions should be set out in your contract and must be factored into prices. For business-to-business transactions these can range from immediate payments on receipt of goods (often with a negotiated small discount) to a negotiated 60-day payment. You need to use secure terms of payment in Australia through a letter of credit, cash, or partial payment in advance.

Logistical challenges

Australia’s sheer size and distance from the UK means you may face challenges around:

  • travelling (24 hours from the UK by plane)
  • the time and money needed to ship or send goods
  • the time difference (7 to 11 hours ahead of the UK)
  • vast distances between states and cities within the country

Business culture

It’s important to note that Australians are informal in their business interactions. First-name terms tend to be the norm in most business situations. Directness and plain speaking are valued.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.