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Australia import guide

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Register your business in Australia

Attain an ARBN (non-Australian companies only)
Before conducting business in Australia, foreign companies need to register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Once approved, you’ll be issued a nine-digit Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN), which you will need in order to communicate with government agencies and other businesses about your products. Use the information below to guide you in registering your business.

  • Complete an application, Form 402, with basic details about your business. It’s advisable to investigate whether your intended name is available, and you may reserve a name in advance order to prevent others from claiming it.
  • Prepare proper accompanying documents, including:
    • A certificate of registration, issued by a governing body in your home country
    • Certified copy of the company’s constitution or statement of governance
    • Memorandum of appointment of a local agent (Form 418) or power of attorney
    • Memorandum stating the powers of certain directors who are resident in Australia
      Pay the required fee of AUD $444.
  • The completed application and accompanying documents should be mailed to:
    Australian Securities and Investments Commission
    PO Box 4000
    Gippsland Mail Centre VIC 3841
  • Beyond paperwork, there are a few other requirements (referenced in the forms above) that must be met in order to operate a business in Australia. Companies need local agent, a registered office, and a resident public officer; an attorneys’ office can carry out such duties.

Attain an ABN (all companies, foreign and domestic)
Companies that are native to Australia do not need an ARBN, but all companies, foreign and domestic, benefit from having an Australia Business Number (ABN), which is an 11-digit that streamlines interactions with governmental and tax offices (including the Goods and Services Tax discussed below). ABN approval can take up to 28 days, but there is usually a quick turnaround.

  • Apply for an ABN online.
  • In general, if suppliers fail to quote an ABN, the recipient is required to withhold payment at a 46.5% rate (referred to as “no ABN witholding”). Additional details on withholding tax can be found here.
  • ASIC provides a roundup of the information you’ll need to provide in order to secure your ABN.
  • The Australian Business Register will likely request that business located outside Australia, provide a few additional details.

Related links

  • The government provides a guide to assessing business registration types.
  • The Australian Trade Commission lays out additional considerations when it comes to establishing and registering a business in Australia.


Confirm your goods can be imported

Before you start importing your products, it’s important to understand regulations that govern them.

Australia’s Customs department provides a guide to goods that are prohibited and restricted from import and export. If items are restricted, you may still be able to import them, but you’ll need to procure a permit, license, or other approval from a relevant government agency. For additional insight into that process, you can contact the Customs Information and Support Centre by phone at +612 6275 6666 (1300 363 263 within Australia) or via e-mail at information@customs.gov.au.

To confirm your goods aren’t barred from entering Australia on origin grounds, you’ll need to investigate the country of manufacture and the location from which it will be shipped to Australia. Determining a product’s provenance is also necessary in determining eligibility for benefits such as reduced rates of duty. For example, if your goods are from the United States, Australian Customs provides a sample to use as a guide for making a preferential duty rate claim.

Finally, consult the Shipwire Acceptable Use Policy to make sure your goods aren’t excluded by our standards.

Related links

  • Additional details on free trade agreements between Australia and other countries can be found on the Customs website.


Duties, tariffs, and taxes

Refer to Australia’s comprehensive tariff schedule to see how your goods should be classified. If it’s not clear, Customs also provides counsel on such matters free of charge, and the resulting Tariff Advice classification is relevant for five years from the date of application. If you’re considering seeking advice, Customs breaks down why and how to do so here.

Should you choose to proceed, fill out Form B102, Application for Tariff Advice. The Goods and Services Tax – levied at 10% the value of taxable importation – applies to most imported goods. To calculate how much you might owe, consult this guide.

Related links


Understanding shipping in Australia

Please refer to the following warehouse guide(s) for shipping capabilities, available carriers, and features:


Understanding pricing

Shipwire has purposely aligned the way it prices its services with the needs of the fast-growing business. Our pricing is designed to be simple and transparent, to not require any management or oversight on your part, and to reward increased order volume. Learn more about pricing:

Shipping fees are denominated in US dollars. Shipping rates may fluctuate as the dollar fluctuates. Please read our Terms of Service for more information on shipping price quotes.

Handling 1 item from Australia is the same as shipping 1 item from any other Shipwire location. For example if you ship 50 orders in one month, split evenly between Australia and Los Angeles. On the 51st order, you upgrade to the next handling level, decreasing your handling price on the following orders for the month.

Storing 1 pallet in Australia is the same as storing 1 pallet in any other Shipwire location. For example, if your account includes up to 4 pallets of storage. If you store 1 pallet in Australia, and 1 pallet in the Los Angeles, you have 2 pallets of storage left.

How does Shipwire calculate currency rates?
The most readily available information on currency exchange rates is based on “interbank exchange rates”. Interbank exchange rates are established in the course of currency trading among a global network of over 1000 banks, and are not available through consumer or retail channels. Consumers may use these rates as a reference, but should not expect to use interbank rates in transactions that involve currency conversion. To obtain actual retail rates, contact your local financial institution or currency exchange.

If your transaction involves a currency conversion, it will be completed at a retail foreign exchange rate determined by Shipwire, which is adjusted regularly based on market conditions.

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