What you need to know before importing or exporting goods to Australia

September 27, 2016

Importing and exporting goods is a great way to build your business and maybe even fill a niche market, but before you start there are important things you need to know.  Importing and exporting goods to or from Australia is highly regulated and the last thing you need is to hear that your cargo has been impounded or quarantined because you didn’t understand the rules and regulations.  Here are some important facts for business that are new to the import and export business.

Use your head

One of the most common mistakes people make when they decide to import or export goods is to go it alone.  As a business decision, this is fraught with problems because the paperwork associated with international shipping in all of its forms is complex.  It takes years to become a Customs Broker and that is because you need to learn and understand how to apply all of the rules and regulations associated with trading for Australia but also for the countries of origin or destination.  That’s a great deal of information because every jurisdiction has its own particular requirements.


Quarantine regulations in Australia are very stringent, and for good reason.  Australia wants to keep out pests and diseases that could threaten its own bio-security for industries like agriculture, horticulture and fishing.

This is why there are many steps required to meet the quarantine requirements.    Of course you can search government databases to determine if you require clearance, download complex forms to obtain permits and calculate fees and charges… but wouldn’t it make more sense contract someone with a wealth of knowledge and experience to take care of the red tape while you take care of business?

Australian Customs requirements for imports

Quarantine and customs clearance are two separate and very different things.  Both need to be completed meticulously to get your goods off the wharf and on the way to your warehouse.  Then you need to consider the type and value of the goods or products you’re planning to import because there may be costs involved. These include clearance fees, customs duty, goods and services tax (GST) and other taxes.  You employ an accountant to look after your business affairs because they are professionals who know the ATO regulations inside out, they look after your interests and ensure compliance.  A Customs Broker will do the same for your import and export needs. Saving you time, effort and possibly a whole lot of heartache.


Exporting takes careful planning and commitment and to be successful, you must understand the regulations in order to meet your exporting obligations.  It’s crucial to understand and prepare for the risks associated with exporting before you start.

Risks include foreign exchange, political environments, shipping, quarantine and legal issues. You need to understand all of the risks before you can integrate them into your business or export plan can put practices in place to mitigate them.

To speak to someone that knows the international shipping business inside out give MYC International Logistics a call on +61 8 9253 0121.

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