The Australian Customs and Quarantine formalities for the clearance of imports or exports consignments are highly regulated in Australia. The correct preparation and completion of the Customs & Quarantine clearance procedures are critical, as heavy penalties may be applied if the correct procedures are not fulfilled.
Below, we’ll provide a brief overview of the Australian customs system and consider the most common issues encountered when shipping your goods internationally.
The authority for customs clearance is the Australian Border Force. This agency is responsible for border protection and regulates imports and exports at both ocean ports and airports. The ABF has a broad range of powers under customs legislation, including searching and or seizing your goods.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) clears and treats goods that pose a threat to Australian biosecurity. They administer a number of biosecurity laws such as the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Failure to provide proper biosecurity documentation may lead to additional charges and even the seizure of your goods.
Paying duty on your Imports
On most imports into Australia, duty will be payable. Customs duties must be paid before your goods are cleared. Your customs duty will be calculated based on the exchange rate prevailing on the day the goods are exported. Goods and Services Tax (GST) will also be payable, as well as any other applicable taxes depending on the types of goods.
Preparing the right Documentation
Documentation is everything when it comes to shipping, you’ll need to understand the minimum document’s required prior to any importing. This includes providing the following:
Commercial invoice – one of the most important documents in international shipping, the commercial invoice details the price and amount of goods you are importing into Australia.
Packing List – this list contains comprehensive information about how your goods are packed by the supplier, such as the precise weight and dimensions.
Packing Declaration – while only necessary when shipping by sea, the packing declaration lets customs & quarantine know the kind of material used to pack your goods. It contains a declaration as to whether the material contains “unacceptable material”.
Certificate of Origin – this declares the country in which your goods were manufactured and can be very beneficial for you if that country has a free trade agreement with Australia.
Tariff concessions remove duties on goods imported into Australia to benefit from tariff concessions, you should be clear on what your product is and its intended use. You may be eligible for a Tariff Concession Order (TCO) if you are importing a product that Australian manufacturer cannot adequately make as a substitute in the ordinary course of business.
Benefits of Free Trade Agreements
Free trade agreements bring a range of advantages to Australian importers such as reduced tariffs and greater foreign market access are some of the most valuable benefits. Australia has over a dozen of these agreements with different countries
If you want to benefit from a free trade agreement, ensure you supply a Certificate of Origin
If you’re importing particular goods into Australia, you may need an import permit. A failure to present this permit when required may lead to the seizure and destruction of your goods also certain commodities are required to be accompanied by an import permit under biosecurity laws.