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Does anyone import stuff into Australia?i am interested in knowing how difficult import code(license)is to get and what red tape is involved.i noted stuff is very expensive in oz.maybe there is a reason for this,import duties maybe?

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If you are talking about how expensive goods are that are manufactured in Australia, that is because we have such good workplace laws governing remuneration and our minimum wage is quite high compared to other countries, so the cost of labour is a large component of the cost of goods.

You can earn a similar salary working on a checkout or packing shelves at the supermarket to a bank teller, office or council worker.

Also, Australians are very passionate about buying Australian and keeping Australian jobs and I suspect the government does probably levy high import duties to encourage people to buy Australian and support Australian industry.

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Whoa, no need to shout! :)

Most people I have spoken to who have looked at importing goods have given up the idea due to red tape and costs. Two people I know who were in the business say its bloody hard and have both sold their businesses. (SA shops)

Edited by HansaPlease
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Ag jammer man,my caps lock was on.did I hurt your ears??lol.I would like to import equipment to start up a workshop again,once I am there.I am therefore interested in seeing what it would cost to buy new equipment vs importing my existing stuff.

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Ah, I think I understand now, you mean importing equipment to start your own workshop business, not importing products to sell on.

The customs page might give you more information http://www.customs.gov.au/default.asp

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I have import equipment into south africa aswell for myself and to resell.Because of pricing in Oz i thought i might import to resell aswell.I have checked websites to see what the import duties would be,but have found nothing yet.

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I would also like to know what is seen as import when you bring your container over? I have tried to read up on it, even mailed customs (they actually replied), but have more questions.

I make things that I sell (needlework) and have 100's of metres of fabric and stuff that I want to take over in my container. Will I be charged on this and what about the items that I have already made and don't sell before we leave? Want to take them over as well....this will obviously be considered new and not used, but will I pay tax & duty on that even if I made it?

Customs mailed me back and only replied on my question if I have to pay on the material (being new and not used) but that was purchased long ago. He said that as long as it was purchased more than 12 months ago, then I will not be charged on it. So how do they know what was purchased more than 12 months ago and what not? Do I need to put the slips into the container as well?

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I have import equipment into south africa aswell for myself and to resell.Because of pricing in Oz i thought i might import to resell aswell.I have checked websites to see what the import duties would be,but have found nothing yet.

Australians are very brand loyal and would be unlikely to buy anything that wasn't a known brand or had some sort of guarantee or service agreement.

I'm not sure where to go to get more information on import duties, but as said before the government tends to set such duties fairly high to encourage you to buy in Australia.

When you buy in Australia you are keeping Australians in work.

Pricing of goods may seem expensive to you when converting from Rands but to us and when buying with dollars it is not necessarily expensive.

I suppose it might depend on exactly what sort of equipment you are considering importing, maybe if you are more specific we might be able to provide more advice.

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Ok,here we go,spray booths,chassis straighteners,mig welders,infrared lights,2post lifts,measuring systems,preparation bays,paint mix rooms,spot welders,all workshop related.

I have been importing these type of equipment and some others,to SA for the past 6 years,and believe me,not only converting to rand is it high,but even to the pound,euro and us $ ,equipment prices seems like a wripp off in Aus.

I have also e mail customs In Australia,but they are still to reply.i thought maybe of bringing my equipment I have in my current shop over,but what duties is then applicable?

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I suppose you would have to factor the cost of a container ( if you plan on bringing your current workshop stuff over) you would probably need compliance certificates for anything electrical, proof that it is clean, proof that it is older than 12 months etc)

I'm not having much luck searching for answers for you, so it might be best to see what customs says.

Remember if you do decide to run an import business, you will be competing among the already established businesses.

Good luck getting more information.

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Thanx for your effort seasrching,mine also came up empty.

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Mara,Thanx for your trouble finding the link.i saw a lot of useful stuff there.one thing that still eludes me is import duties,can't seem to find that anywhere.

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I think that is because the import duties are worked out on a calculated formula based on the value of the goods, converted to Au dollars, plus a number of other variables and taxes such as GST etc, so there is no flat rate import duty that I can discern applicable across the board. I did find this.......although it is based on duties for items bought on ebay.

"How is Customs Import Duty / Import GST calculated?

Duty is calculated as a percentage of the price you
paid for goods (aka the Customs Value - CV). Depending on the product,
the applicable duty rate can be anywhere from 0% to 10%, however the
majority of goods attract a 5% duty rate.

GST is calculated at 10% of the Value of the Taxable
Import (VoTI). The VoTI is calculated by the addition of the Customs
Value (CV) PLUS the Duty PLUS the value of the International Transport
and Insurance (T&I).

An example of how the duty and GST is calculated on goods valued at AUD$1,500 which attract a 5% duty rate would be:

Please Note: Customs utilises different calculation methods for
Alcohol and Tobacco imports. See -
auspostcustoms.com.au/faqs.html?more=21#faq109 for full details.

3) How is a Duty Rate Percentage assigned to my goods?
imported goods are assigned a tariff classification obtained from the
Australian Customs Tariff (customs.gov.au/site/page5663.asp) which
determines the rate of duty you will pay for that product.

4) Are there any other Customs Charges?
You will also be charged a Customs Entry Fee of $48.50 if you choose to
manually clear the goods yourself, OR $40.20 if you choose to have a
Customs Broker electronically clear them for you.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Section III - Do I need a Customs Broker? What do they cost?
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

You are legally permitted to manually clear the goods yourself (see
Section IV below) however there are a few points you should be aware of
before choosing to do so.

Using a Customs Broker – Pros

  • Simplicity. They do everything for you, right up
    until the goods are delivered to your door. All you need to do is
    provide them with two documents:
    • A copy of the eBay email you received upon purchase; and
    • The “Australia Post Arrival Notice” you will receive in the mail when your goods arrive in Australia.
  • Speed. They can electronically clear your goods immediately instead of waiting the usual 7-10 business days for Customs to process your manually lodged documents.
  • Savings. They will evaluate your imported goods in
    accordance with the Customs Tariff (comprising over 13,000 Tariff
    Classifications and 4,000 Concessions, By-laws, Precedents) to ascertain
    the lowest possible legal Duty and GST rates applicable to your goods.
  • Online Lodgement. Some Customs Brokers (like us)
    even allow you to attach the above mentioned two documents online so you
    don’t even have to make a phone call. It doesn’t get any easier than

Using a Customs Broker – Cons

  • It will cost you $55 (that’s all we charge at
    auspostcustoms.com.au). Alternatively you can also look in the yellow
    pages under Customs Brokers – but be prepared, some brokers will try to
    charge you up to $225 for the same service.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Section IV – How do I clear the goods through Customs myself?
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

It’s a bit of a long process but if you follow these instructions you can do it yourself and save the $55 Customs Broker charge.

Step 1 – Print and Read the Customs Import Declaration Guide (54 Pages) from customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/DocImpDecGuide.pdf

Step 2 – Complete a Client Registration Form B323
from - customs.gov.au/site/page4288.asp and supply a 100 point Evidence
of Identity check.

Step 3 – Determine the Customs Tariff Classification for your goods, see - customs.gov.au/site/page5663.asp
If you are unable to ascertain the correct Tariff Classification for
your goods you can ask Customs to classify the goods for you (usually
within 7-10 days) by completing a Tariff Advice, see -

Step 4 – Complete the 3 Forms at the back of the
Customs Import Declaration Guide entitled “Import Declaration (N10)”,
“Import Declaration (N10) – Transport Details” and “Import Declaration
(N10) – Tariff Details”.

When completing these forms you may also be required to reference the following legislation:

Step 5 – Fax all complete forms including
certified copies of EOI to the relevant fax number listed in the Import
Declaration Guide for your state. Wait 5 - 8 business days for customs
to process your documents and advise you (usually by mail) if your
documentation has been completed correctly (if not you need to amend it
and re-submit).

Step 6 – If you completed everything correctly the
first time, then Customs will generate an entry for you, calculate the
Duty/GST and Customs Charges payable and submit your credit card details
to their accounts department for billing. It usually takes a further
2-3 days for the accounts department to process your credit card and
release your goods for delivery by Australia Post.

Total Manual Entry Processing Time: Approx 7-10 Business Days.

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3) How is a Duty Rate Percentage assigned to my goods?
imported goods are assigned a tariff classification obtained from the
Australian Customs Tariff (customs.gov.au/site/page5663.asp) which
determines the rate of duty you will pay for that product

this is the part i am looking for,the other i know and is the same as in south africa

This will determine what you will pay additional.Gst is the same like our vat,you pay them and later claim it back.if you sell the item you will pay gst again.there is also other charges not mentioned like

cargo dues


terminal handeling

container cleaningtransport out of the harbour and some others.

in specific i am looking to see what the duty rate on different items is.

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One thing that may or may not be relevant, I brought my scuba tanks over and was lucky to find a place to get them tested and thus approved for use in WA. If your welders have high pressure vessels (tanks) then you may not be able to use them here? Although I really have no knowledge of that sort of tanks.

Just a thought?

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if I was you, make an appointment with a freight forwarder like K&N and by doing so obtain the info required

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  • 7 years later...

Hi I am looking at importing biscuits, rusks, chocolates,  from South Africa to Perth... please can you advise me .   I have read up on the customs charges etc am I missing anything that could help me with my decision.     



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