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Export food and drink to Australia

Free Trade Agreement export guide


Australia is an important destination for UK food and drink (F&D) exports which have more than doubled in the decade leading up to 2022 (Source: HMRC Overseas trade in good statistics, February 2023). The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will support jobs in a sector which contributed £115 billion to the UK economy in 2020 (Source: DEFRA, Agriculture in the UK: 2021) and bring benefits to every part of the country. Whisky is the top F&D product that the UK exports to Australia, accounting for 34% of total UK F&D export value to the country in 2022. Other significant UK export products to Australia include gin and geneva (4th biggest by value), chocolate (7th) and cheese (10th) (Source: HMRC Overseas trade in goods statistics, February 2023. UN Comtrade, extracted April 2023). The UK has the industry strength to respond to current Australian trends in free-from, ethically sourced products and no and low-alcoholic drinks, as well as high-quality packaged foods.

This competitive advantage will be underpinned by the FTA via the elimination of tariffs on all UK originating products, including biscuits, whisky and gin exports (previously 5%) and cheese (previously up to around 20%). Removing tariffs on whisky could boost exports to Australia, which is the industry’s eleventh largest market, with exports already worth £161 million in 2022. Regulatory and customs cooperation will also support the export of innovative and composite goods. The agreement will also further encourage co-operation and collaboration, providing opportunities for UK innovation in agritech.

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UK F&D exports to Australia more than doubled in the decade to 2021

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Whisky is the top F&D product that the UK exports to Australia, accounting for 34% of total UK F&D export value to the country in 2022

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The FTA will support jobs in a sector which contributed £115 billion to the UK economy in 2020

FTA opportunities for F&D exporters

UK F&D companies are set to benefit from the FTA as it helps make exports to Australia cheaper, faster, and more secure. Specifically, the FTA cuts all import tariffs into Australia to 0% for F&D goods, introduces flexible rules of origin, simpler customs procedures, and fosters sustainable and innovative goods production.

No more tariffs

All import tariffs into Australia will be reduced to 0% immediately, with the exception of cheese which will be removed over a short staging period.

Tariff heading Previous tariff New tariff
Non-alcoholic beer 5% 0%
Whisky 5% 0%
Chocolate 5% 0%
Cake and Biscuits 5% 0%
Gin 5% 0%
Cheese Up to 20% 0% (after 5 years)

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 ingredients, 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 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.


HS code: 1905.31

Product: Sweet biscuits; waffles and wafers: sweet biscuits

Rule: CTH (Change of tariff heading)

This rule can be fulfilled if all non-originating materials used in the production of the product is have undergone sufficient processing to change any of first four digits (or “Tariff Heading”) of their HS code. Please find more information on CTH rules in the guide on how to use Rules of Origin in the FTA.

For example, unlimited non-originating wheat (1001) and milk (0401) may be used in the manufacture of the sweet biscuits as they are classified in a different HS heading to the final product.

Sanitary and customs support

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) chapter sets out how the UK and Australia will facilitate trade whilst protecting human, animal and plant life, and health. The UK has agreed provisions which enhance the transparency and timeliness of processes related to market access procedures and trade conditions. This will help get new and current products to market.

Simplified data and documentation requirements will help to ensure goods exit customs quickly, provided all requirements have been met. Before exporting their goods, businesses can request an advance ruling, a legally binding, written decision from the relevant customs authority on the tariff classification and origin of their product. Australia will ensure that the business receives the ruling within 90 days after receiving the request. These rulings will take effect on the date they are issued and remain in effect for at least three years provided the law, facts and circumstances remain the same. Either the exporter or importer may apply for an advance ruling.

Geographical indicators

The FTA commits Australia and the United Kingdom to ambitious intellectual property (IP) provisions including on Geographical Indications(GIs). These provisions will ensure that if Australia establishes bespoke GI protection schemes for spirits and agri-foods, protecting third country GIs, the UK can put forward our GIs for protection subject to Australia’s legal procedures. If these conditions have not been met after two years, the GI provisions will be reviewed by the UK and Australia. This provision could benefit high-quality UK products with well-known and carefully protected geographic origins, including Scottish salmon and Jersey Royal potatoes.

Industry Regulations

Information on regulations that apply to your industry can be found in the Australian Government industry factsheets. These list the legal, operational, and business obligations your business must follow, including industry codes of conduct. These also include information on licenses to sell certain goods, labelling and standards codes or specific tax measures that may apply to your business.

Packaging and labelling must meet Australian consumer health and environmental legislation. There are specific labelling requirements for foodstuffs, available from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Example requirements include all labelling using the metric system, or a country of origin labelling requirement for all non-priority goods.

Australian product regulations

As a UK business you can use the Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions tool (BICON). This tool offers clear guidelines to those importing composite goods. Your importer or nominated agent will normally be the one required to present all required documentation to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as part of the import procedure.

image of Sydney, Australia skyline

Case study: exporting shortbread 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 goods is HS 1905313000 “Bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and other bakers’ wares…”

3. Check if goods are restricted or require a permit

"We are complying with the food standards code"

4. Gather commercial documents and submit to transporter

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

"Our product is shortbread biscuits, we have 100 boxes containing 100 tins of shortbread, with a value of 250 AUD per box or 25,000 AUD in total"

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

"The Shortbread meets the CTH requirement and therefore qualifies for originating status and 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"

6. Get UK customs clearance

Make a export declaration through customs declaration services

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 (if the goods are worth more than 1,000 AUD) or a Self-Assessed Clearance Declaration (otherwise)

"We need a full Customs Import Declaration as our shortbread is worth more than 1000 AUD"

4. Adhere to all import conditions for this good

"We applied for an import permit and paid the relevant taxes"

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. Further details can be found in Annex 4a.

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. Our e-commerce explainer provides an overview of the different applications of GST for B2B and B2C sales.

Certain goods must be correctly labelled with a trade description before they can be imported into Australia. Not all imported goods need labelling, but you can find out more here.

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.

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