Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

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Background to Import Australia

Import Australia was limited by the Australian government for many years. However, it has significantly opened its Import Export policy in the past 25 years due to shifting from a form of protectionism to welcoming imports.  To entice Australian imports, the artificially high tariffs of the past have gradually decreased over the years.  This has contributed to the establishment and growth of many Australian Industries.  Be sure to explore Australian Fashion, and Shoes Australia as an import opportunities.

Import Australia

Photo Credits: Rainbow Lorikeets -  Beate W; Melbourne At Night 1 - Greg Bains

Import Australia Rules and Regulations

Import Restrictions and Prohibitions

Australia has a natural beauty that the whole world appreciates.  To keep the wildlife natural and disease free, the Australian government has strict controls on what plants, animals and food can be imported.  Almost all eggs, meat and earth are prohibited.  The importation of used vehicles is strictly prohibited unless the automobile was used by the owner overseas.  Other restricted items include: firearms, weapons, and narcotics.

Dual Tariff System

The Australian import system has two tariff rates:  delineating general and preferential duty rates.   Preferential rates are usually lower than delineating general rates.   Preferential rates are given to developing countries, some Pacific island countries, New Zealand and Canada.   The rest of the world will pay the higher delineating general rates which are typically about 5% higher.

Import Licenses

Import licenses are being phased out except for a number of heavy machinery categories.  Be sure to check before proceeding in the import to Australia process.

Import Australia Process

Import Procedures

This is a quick overview.  As an Australian buyer importing from China or any other country, you need to obtain a quote for your products and the cost of shipping to a port of entry in Australia.   Once the terms and payments are agreed upon by you and your foreign supplier, the goods are shipped to Australia.  

Here are the documents that you will need to gain customs clearance for your imported products:

Customs Clearance

Within seven days of entry into Australia, the goods must be registered for one of these purposes:

Imported goods can be stored in a warehouse duty free until they are entered into the Australian commerce.  It is a way of deferring the payment of duties.  The goods can be repacked and sorted on a limited basis while they are being warehoused.

Following customs clearance, the local agent can pick up and distribute the goods.

The above is a general process for importing goods into Australia.  Whether you plan to import from China or from any other country, the procedure remains the same.


Michele I. - Import from China to Australia

“My name is Michelle. I have moved to Shanghai with my husband and 21 month old daughter. I have a desire to start an importing business to Australia from China. I have found you website very helpful.”

Real Experiences!

Whether you are an Australian importing goods or you are a foreigner exporting goods to Australia, you need to keep the Australian geography, physical terrains, and infrastructure in mind.  Depending on the type of goods, these factors influence how and where the imported products will be shipped, warehoused and distributed.  Shipping to Australia has many options due to Australia’s many natural ports along its vast coastline.

For foreigners exporting goods to Australia, knowledge of the Australian Business Culture is also a vital part of success.  Australia Travel Tips are essential to your Business Travel to Australia because Australia is both a beautiful and complex country to a foreigner.