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Selling goods to Australia

Free Trade Agreement overview

Overview

Exports to Australia supported over 100,000 UK jobs in 2018 (source: OECD Trade in Employment (TiM) database: Principal indicators, February 2022, indicators EXGR_DEM and EMPN_EXGRDEM.) and Australian demand for imports is expected to grow by almost 60% in real terms between 2021 and 2035 (source: DBT (2023), Global Trade Outlook February 2023). The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will increase opportunities for goods exporters with the removal of tariffs, increased access to bid on government contracts, a commitment to the facilitation of customs procedures, and reduction of technical barriers to trade.

The FTA will remove all customs duties on UK originating exports to Australia, making it cheaper to sell iconic products like cars, Scotch whisky and UK fashion to this market. This will support industries that employed over 3.2 million people in the UK in 2021 (source: HMRC, UK trade in goods by business characteristics, 2021). Flexible rules of origin mean that UK businesses can use some imported parts and ingredients and still qualify for the new 0% tariffs when exporting to Australia.

Novel innovation, environment and cooperation chapters will allow the UK and Australia to work together to support the emergence of a more sustainable economy. This will ensure that the UK both plays a leading role in the development of the industries of the future and can take full advantage of the social and economic benefits they will bring.

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Exports to Australia supported over 100,000 UK jobs in 2018

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Australian demand for imports is expected to grow by almost 60% in real terms between 2021 and 2035

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FTA will remove all customs duties on UK originating exports to Australia


Do you currently export machinery to Australia and want to understand how the FTA might benefit you? Beyond reduced tariffs and flexible rules of origin lowering the cost of exporting, UK companies will have increased access to government contracts, and will have easier access to service products once installed.

Are you looking to new markets to expand your processed food exports and want to take advantage of opportunities in Australia? UK food and drink exports to Australia have more than doubled in the last decade, and the UK is well positioned to meet Australian demand in the prepared foods sector. Under the FTA, your product will benefit from 0% tariffs, flexible rules of origin, and simpler and faster customs procedures.

Tariffs and rules of origin

The FTA will remove tariffs on all UK goods, making it easier for businesses to sell to Australia. To qualify for zero tariffs, you will need to prove that your goods originate in the UK. The steps are:

  1. Finding your Commodity Code
  2. Determining Rules of Origin
  3. Proving Rules of Origin
  4. Filing Documentation

Please refer to the Australia Rules of Origin guidance for more detailed information and Australia Rules of Origin quick guide for an overview of the process. 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. The UK and Australia will ensure that the business receives the ruling within 90 days after receiving the request.

A ruling will take effect on the date it is 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.

Advance ruling will be available for:

Tariff Classification:

UK Advance Tariff Ruling

AU Tariff Advice System

Origin:

UK Advance Origin Ruling

AU Advance Ruling

Digital trade, procurement opportunities and more

The FTA harnesses the potential of digital technologies to make all forms of trade cheaper, easier and faster. It ensures the free flow of trusted data and world-leading standards for personal data protection. It also ensures the legal recognition of electronic contracts and signatures. For goods exports, this includes commitments to paperless trading to reduce the need for physical paperwork at the border over time.

British companies will now be able to bid for covered Australian government contracts worth around £10 billion per year on an equal footing with Australian companies. It is the most substantial level of access Australia has ever granted in a free trade agreement. UK businesses will have the legally guaranteed opportunity to bid for contracts in major infrastructure projects such as railway constructions and road upgrades. Find further information on the UK-Australia commitments on government procurement.

Intellectual Property (IP) provisions will support our vibrant economies through adequate, effective and balanced protection and enforcement of IP rights that encourage innovation and creativity. This includes provisions that support the efficient registration of trademarks or less costly design right protection,among others. See the FTA IP guidance for information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP rights in Australia.

The dedicated SME chapter in the FTA will specifically support SMEs in the UK and Australia to trade in each other’s markets. This includes provisions to provide up-to-date and easy-to-access trading information online, such as links to the websites of both the UK's and Australia's government agencies or authorities that provide information considered useful to any person interested in trading and investing.

The SME chapter requires both the UK and Australia to include a link on their respective government websites to an electronic database, searchable by HS code, which provides market access information.

The SME chapter also includes a wide range of cooperation activities that the UK and Australia may explore, ranging from trade finance and payment practices to SMEs’ integration into global supply chains.

The UK and Australia are encouraged to exchange best practices on how to run trade training programmes to enable SMEs to take advantage of the commercial opportunities of the Agreement. This means that UK SMEs can receive more direct help in identifying commercial partners in Australia. For further details, please see the FTA SME guidance.

Customs

New 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 a legally binding, written decision from the relevant customs authority on the tariff classification and origin of their product. For more information on customs, see the FTA customs guidance.

Australian product regulations and standards

The FTA builds on existing WTO commitments that ensure that any regulations that either UK or Australia introduce are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. Marking and labelling provisions in the FTA embed best practice for a trade-facilitative approach.

The UK and Australia have also agreed specific cooperation provisions, including specific commitments on cosmetics. The FTA establishes a committee where parties can seek to resolve differences that may arise regarding the implementation of the technical barriers to trade chapter.

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

Similarly, packaging and labelling of goods must meet Australian consumer health and environmental legislation. There are specific labelling requirements for:

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

Use the labelling checklist to label your products correctly.

Separate to the FTA, the UK and Australia have a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that contains the conditions under which each country will accept conformity assessment results from the other. The MRA covers

  • automotive products
  • electromagnetic compatibility
  • low voltage equipment
  • machinery
  • medical devices
  • medicinal products
  • pressure equipment
  • telecommunications terminal equipment
  • good manufacturing practice (pharmaceuticals)

These UK goods can be tested in the UK by conformity assessment bodies (CABs) against Australian regulations and then be sold in Australia without additional testing in Australia. The UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies database provides a list of UK-based CABs, including those designated under the UK-Australia Mutual Recognition Agreement.

Investment

For those looking to expand their business and invest in Australia, the FTA means fewer UK investments will need to go through Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. Now, only investments over $1.2 billion AUD, other than those in certain sensitive sectors, will be subject to review, more than quadrupling the UK’s previous threshold. UK enterprises will also gain guarantees that limit nationality and residency requirements for their senior managers and boards of directors. This will provide greater control over business operations and recruitment.

Specific performance requirements – such as export restrictions, local content requirements, headquarter localisation requirements, and mandatory levels of research & development – will be prohibited. This will limit barriers to investment and minimise market distortions.

UK investors will be covered by a range of investment protections. This includes 'Expropriation' and 'Minimum Standard of Treatment' provisions which guarantee UK investors protection from the unlawful expropriation of assets and discriminatory, unfair,or arbitrary treatment by Australia.

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:

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.

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Case study: exporting a non-regulated good to Australia

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 Australia's FTA Portal to find your HS code

"The HS code for our toys representing animals is HS 95030030

3. Checkstandards and regulations applicable to goods

"Certain toys are regulated, such as toys for children up to 36 months or those containing lead and other chemicals. This is not the case for our product so no additional regulations apply"

4. Gather commercial documents and submit to transporter

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

"Our product is toy horses. We have 100 of them valued at 6 AUD each for a total price of 600 AUD"

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

"Our shipment is under the threshold of 1000 AUD so no proof of origin is required"

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)

"This is not required as our goods are worth 600 AUD"

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 information on GST and customs duty applicable to commercial samples please see

item #27 of this guidance.

Information on temporary imports into Australia can be found 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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