Import Tariffs: The Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Australia (AUSFTA) that came into effect in 2005 eliminated import tariffs on 99 percent of U.S. manufactured industrial and consumer goods, and 100 percent of U.S. agricultural products. This has continued to create export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and farmers. Tariffs on non-U.S. products average 5 percent or less, with a few exceptions, such as motor vehicles, clothing, and footwear.
Rules of Origin: Goods are classified according to the Harmonized System (HS) for the purposes of tariff categorization. To be eligible for preferential tariff treatment under AUSFTA, products must originate in the United States, that is, be wholly obtained or produced in the United States, or produced in the United States wholly from other originating materials from either Australia or the United States.
Import Requirements: The Australian Customs and Protection Border Service has sole jurisdiction to clear imports. Customs does not require companies or individuals to hold import licenses, but importers may need to obtain permits to clear the goods.
Import Documentation: The minimum amount of documentation required for customs clearance comprises a completed Customs Entry or Informal Clearance Document (ICD), an air waybill (AWB) or bill of lading (BLAD), as well as invoices and other documents relating to the importation. Customs does not require the completion of a special form of invoice. Normal commercial invoices, bills of lading, and receipts are acceptable. These documents should contain the following information: invoice terms (e.g., FOB, CIF) name and address of the seller of the goods (Consignor) monetary unit referred to on invoice (e.g. AUD, USD), and country of origin.
Goods and Services Tax (GST): Goods entering Australia may incur duty, GST, and/or additional charges. Customs duty rates vary and depend on a number of factors, such as type of goods and country of origin. Because of the preferential tariff arrangement under the AUSFTA, 99 percent of U.S.-origin goods enter Australia duty free. The importer is still responsible for applicable GST payments. The liability to pay a 10 percent GST for imports rests with the importer. Payment of GST may not be required for temporary importation of goods. Imported, second-hand goods are treated the same way as any taxable goods and are therefore subject to GST. Under the GST, the amount paid or payable for international transport and insurance is also added to the taxable importation value.
Quarantine: The Australian government enforces its quarantine measures very seriously. Importers have little recourse once a shipment encounters quarantine issues. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is the federal body responsible for enforcing Australia’s quarantine regulations, including issuing permits and inspecting shipments. Australia has stringent prohibitions and quarantines against a number of products. Australia has very strict sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions affecting imports of fresh fruit and vegetables and imports of meat and poultry products.
U.S. Export Controls: When exporting products to other countries, there are a few things that exporters must keep in mind. To determine whether or not an exporter needs to obtain an export license in order to ship their product, the exporter should look for an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN).
Source: The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce www.export.gov