Skip to main content

Advice

Export your goods online to Australia

Free Trade Agreement export guide

Overview

Australians have a passion for UK consumer products and the digital trade provisions in the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will bring Australian consumers closer than ever to UK companies selling their goods online.

The FTA includes a number of commitments to guarantee the legal validity of online purchases, tariff-free trade, flexible rules of origin, as well as containing effective intellectual property provisions. These will boost a sector where nearly 80% of all UK produced high-end consumer goods were sold internationally in 2017 (Source: https://www.thewalpole.co.uk/news/walpole-announces-49-growth-british-luxury-industry-four-years).

UK companies will benefit from commitments to minimise false descriptions of products on online marketplaces ensuring increased consumer confidence.

The FTA will also save many firms from the cost of setting up servers in Australia and makes business easier through the use of electronic contracts and electronic signatures.

The FTA cuts tariffs on UK produced consumer goods like dresses, swimwear, and perfumes from 5% to 0%.

Australia is the second most important export destination for UK fashion, textiles, and footwear outside of Europe (Source: ONS UK Trade by commodity exports, February 2023).

Eliminating these tariffs could further boost the £150 million of UK clothing and footwear exported to Australia (Source: HMRC regional trade statistics, Q2 2021), and benefit regions like the Northwest and East of England, which have seen significant growth in clothing exports to Australia.

Fashion Icon

The FTA cuts tariffs on UK produced consumer goods like dresses, swimwear, and perfumes from 5% to 0%.

High standard products icon

Eliminating tariffs on UK produced consumer goods could further boost the £150 million of UK clothing and footwear exported to Australia.

australia icon

Australia is the second most important export destination for UK fashion, textiles, and footwear outside of Europe.


No more tariffs

UK consumer goods companies are set to benefit from the FTA as it helps make exports to Australia cheaper, faster, and more secure. The FTA cuts all import tariffs into Australia to 0% for these goods, introduces flexible rules of origin, simpler customs procedures, and encourages innovation and creativity.

Import tariffs into Australia will be reduced to 0% for the consumer goods sector, and businesses will not have to meet burdensome rules on ‘insufficient transformation requirements’, saving UK exporters money and time.

Tariff heading Previous tariff New tariff
Swimwear 5% 0%
Kitchenware 5% 0%
Footwear up to 5% 0%
Perfume 5% 0%

The reductions are conditional on goods having originating status (more below).

More flexible rules of origin

The new rules of origin (RoO) have been designed to support the UK retail sector, heavily reliant on imports, to lessen the cost of importing materials from Australia and exporting final products to Australia. Most UK businesses, even those who manufacture from imported materials and fabrics, will be able to qualify for zero tariffs for their exports to Australia, provided they comply with the rules of origin outlined in the FTA.

Use the UK's Trade Tariff tool to first identify the Harmonised System (HS) code of your good. Consult the Product Specific Rules of the FTA document and look up the rule for your good. For the purposes of these rules, HS codes are defined at the 2-, 4- and 6-digit level.

Example

Harmonised System (HS) code: 611241

Product: Women’s or girl’s swimwear: of synthetic fibres

Rule: CC (Change of Chapter)

This rule can be fulfilled if all non-originating materials used in the production of the good have undergone sufficient processing to change the first two digits (or “Chapter”) of their HS Code. The non-originating materials in this case are nylon (Chapter 39) and spandex (Chapter 52); by processing these materials in the UK, the final product (swimwear) is classified under a different chapter (Chapter 61).

Please find more information on CC rules in the guidance on how to use rules of origin in the FTA.

Digital trade

The FTA ensures that data can flow freely between the two countries whilst retaining the UK’s high standards on data protection. It will ensure that businesses do not face unjustified barriers to data flows, such as the requirement to store their data in costly servers in Australia.

This deal makes it easier for British retailers to sell their products online by guaranteeing the legal validity of electronic contracts and electronic transactions.

The UK and Australia will work towards ensuring that tools used to verify people’s identity and authenticate online transactions work in both countries.

Consumers and suppliers alike will benefit from commitments to minimise spam and false descriptions of products in online market places.

The increased consumer protection offered by the deal will give Australian consumers greater confidence when sourcing their favourite UK products on the internet.

Selling goods directly to customers via online platforms is critical for manyUK businesses, and these cutting-edge provisions could help boost their e-commerce sales.

Intellectual property (IP)

The FTA commits Australia to ambitious IP provisions that support companies through adequate, effective, and balanced protection and enforcement, while also encouraging innovation and creativity.

Provisions include

  • reciprocal copyright arrangements
  • more efficient trademark procedures
  • a streamlined design right protection application process
  • improved IP infringement enforcement.

Cosmetics

The FTA includes a dedicated cosmetics annex which lays the groundwork to reduce the differences in regulation for businesses exporting cosmetics to Australia.

The UK and Australian governments will seek to work together through international fora to align cosmetics regulation where appropriate. This will make it easier to understand what rules businesses need to follow.

For UK cosmetics manufacturers, this could improve access to an Australian market estimated to have annual sales of $10 billion AustralianDollars (AUD), according to industry association Accord (Source: https://accord.asn.au/about/who-we-are/).

For regulations and import conditions applicable to cosmetics that make a therapeutic claim, please visit the therapeutic goods administration website.

Goods and services tax in Australia, B2B vs. B2C

A Goods and Services Tax (GST) is charged at a rate of 10% of the landed value of goods originating from overseas. (Source: typically the price of the goods minus any amount included for transport and insurance from overseas to Australia).

For B2C sales of a customs value of less than $1,000 AUD, the consumer will pay the GST at point of sale.

For goods over this amount, or for sales of multiple goods that will be shipped together in one consignment valued at over $1,000 AUD, the business would not charge GST on the sale.

This is because GST will be charged at the border when the goods arrive. If it isn’t clear for the overseas business whether the goods will be sent to Australia in one consignment, they will need to charge GST.

A recipient is not a consumer if they are a GST-registered business who purchases the goods for use in their business in Australia (B2B).

The supplier will not need to charge GST on a sale of low value imported goods to Australian GST-registered business if they provide their Australian business number (ABN) and confirmation that they are GST-registered.

If a business is not registered for GST, then they are to be treated as a consumer and GST should be charged.

Businesses such as merchants, electronic distribution platforms and re-deliverers are required to register if their GST turnover in Australia is $75,000 AUD or more in a 12-month period.

A business that is required to register must charge and collect GST on the low value goods they sell to consumers in Australia, and they must pay the GST collected to the Australian Taxation Office.

Business will also need to notify consumers that GST has been applied by including GST in the final price quoted or advertised. It does not matter where the consumer purchasing the goods is located, GST will generally apply if the goods are being sent to Australia.

For more detail about how the Australian taxation system operates, refer to the Australian Taxation Office’s website.

Australia product regulations

Information on regulations that apply to your industry can be found in the Australian Government industry factsheets.

These lists obligations that may apply to a business including:

  • legal
  • operational
  • industry codes of conduct
  • licenses to sell certain goods
  • labelling and standards codes
  • specific tax measures

Additional information for selling goods in Australia

Selling goods in Australia will require following certain rules and regulations according to the agreements you have in place with your buyer.

For further information on incoterms and import conditions into Australia, please visit the following resources: International trade contracts and incoterms.

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.

In order to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the FTA, businesses must make certain declarations that satisfy data requirements.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in Australia. The current GST rate is 10%.

Learn more about GST on the ATO’s website.

Certain goods must be correctly labelled with a trade description before they can be imported into Australia. Please note that not all imported goods need labelling.

Australia image 1

Case study: exporting a swimsuit to Australia

Please note that this case study is illustrative only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research. Exporters should check on the most up to date rules and processes with the relevant customs authority.

Actions taken by the exporter before exporting

1. Agree incoterms and terms of payment with importers in Australia

"We agreed on Shipping DAP to Australian importer. This means we will be responsible for all costs and risks associated with the delivery to the final agreed place."

2. Determine the HS code(s)

Use the UK's Trade Tariff tool to find your HS code

"The HS code for our swimsuit is HS 61124100 ."

3. Check if goods are prohibited

Search the list of goods that are restricted or require a permit on the Australian Border Force website.

"Our product is not restricted."

4. Gather commercial documents and submit to transporter

  • Commercial invoice (content of goods and demand for payment)

"Our product is 500 women’s swimsuits made of synthetic fibres. The value is 3,000 AUD (500x6AUD)."

  • Packing list (weight, packaging and carton numbers of goods)
  • RoO documents

" The product meets the CC requirement and therefore can claim originating status and the 0% import tariff into Australia."

The UK exporter can provide an origin declaration for the Australian importer, or the importer can make a claim for preferential tariff treatment based on Importer’s Knowledge. The Australian importer can use Importer’s Knowledge based on either having documentation demonstrating that the good is originating, or being able to reasonably rely on supporting documentation provided by the UK exporter or UK producer that the good is originating. The importer must be able to provide such documentation to Australia’s customs authorities upon request.

5. Gather shipping documents (done by the transporter)

"Air waybill or bill of landing, as the good is sent by sea."

7. Check if you need to submit an Exit Summary Declaration

"Safety and security requirements met, do not need to submit Exit Summary Declaration."

Actions taken by the importer to clear Australian customs

1. Submit an Impending Arrival Report at (air)port of entry

2. Submit an Actual Arrival Report at (air)port of entry

3. Submit a customs import declaration

Customs import declaration is required for goods worth more than 1,000 AUD, otherwise declare using self-assessed clearance declaration.

"In our example full Customs Import Declaration is needed as value is above threshold."

For further information on exporting from the UK, use the check duties and customs procedures for exporting goods tool.

For further information on importing into Australia, use the DFAT FTA portal.

For further information on e-commerce trends in Australia, the annual Australia Post reports may be of use.

australia flag

Doing business in Australia

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

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.

Legal disclaimer

The information provided on this webpage is for guidance only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research or independent advice.

No investment and/or business decision should be made solely on the basis of information presented on this page. It is recommended that an independent due diligence investigation is conducted before entering into engagement with any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned.

DBT accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person as result of any error, omission, inaccurate or misleading statement on this page.

The accuracy, completeness or up-to-dateness of the content of any website mentioned in this document is not guaranteed in any way, implied or explicit.

Want to know more?

Learn how to start exporting with our easy-to-follow online course.

Sign up for free

Something went wrong. Please try again.

Was this page useful?

Thanks for letting us know

Can you tell us why this page was useful?

Do not share any personal or commercially sensitive information.

Cancel

Thanks for letting us know

Can you tell us more about your feedback?

Do not share any personal or commercially sensitive information.

Cancel

Thanks for your feedback