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How do I Import in Australia?

This is arguably the biggest question when it comes to shipping items into the country. To get a deeper understanding of what this entails, it is necessary to start from scratch.

Many people naturally associate the process of importing with large cargo containers. Yes, each year, hundreds of thousands of freights enter the borders of Australia. However, that isn’t all there is to importing.

You could import your favorite books, or a lovely vase you saw while you were away on vacation.

So essentially, whether you’re a big import business owner that ships regularly or you’re just an ordinary individual looking to bring in an item for your personal use, you fit under the exact same description; you’re an importer.

So what exactly is importing in Australia, and how does one go about carrying out this exercise?

We’ll find out now.

What is Importing?

This is basically the process of bringing in any goods or service into Australia from another country.

As we pointed out earlier, there are no minimum amount of cargo that qualifies you to be an importer.

With that in mind, you should also note that irrespective of,

  • Weight,
  • Size,
  • Cost, or
  • Quantity,

Any item that comes into Australia from another country is technically an imported product.

Costs Associated With Importing

As a person who isn’t very familiar with importing in Australia, before venturing into any importing exercise it always pays to have a working understanding of what extra costs and levies come with shipping items into the country.

It is crucial to mention that while certain levies are non-negotiable, a few of these costs are entirely depending on the type and value of the goods you intend on importing into the country.

As such, it is largely the nature of what you’re importing that determines whether you’ll be paying customs duty and GST (goods and services tax), clearance levies and any other tax levies.

Please note that should your imported goods be subject to any or all of these costs, you would have to pay what is charged at the border.

Failure to do so would lead to your goods being held and delayed until you do the needful.

It is for this reason that getting a licensed customs broker is sound practice. They essentially serve as a reliable guide and help you navigate the entire importing process easily and quickly.

There are also cases in which you could get your goods into the country absolutely duty free!

Labelling and Trade Description for Imported Goods

Labelling tends to apply mostly in cases where you’re importing the cargo with the primary objective of selling it for consumption. If that is so in your case, a few things you need to ensure that your imported goods possess are;

  • Proper labelling from country of origin, and
  • Trade descriptions

Under import regulations, certain goods can’t gain entry into the country in the absence of a true description of the goods in English language.

In many cases, the definition, requirement and extent of a true description is purely subjective. However, you would be better served to check and ensure if your cargo falls in the category of those that need to have this requirement.

The purpose of a standard country of origin labelling is to ensure that there is no misleading information tendered with regards to the origin country of the imported cargo.

As you most likely already know, getting clearance is necessary as any goods that gain entry into the country without it is essentially considered illegal and upon discovery, would be dealt with as such.

Upon receiving clearance from Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, you would be given certain documents you would need to tender further down the road to serve as evidence that you did successfully clear the vetting and clearance process.

Depending on what you’re shipping into the country, getting a customs clearance might prove to be a bigger challenge than you might expect.

Luckily, there are a few things you could do to make this process considerably easier on yourself. One of the things you could do is take on the services of a licensed customs agent.

Once you are able to abide by these rules and regulations (or employ a customs broker to help you walk through them) you’re well on your way to importing into Australia with relative ease.