Importing Agriculture Products Into Australia
This article covers essential import information to help your business prepare for a new import venture in agriculture products.
If you are looking for ways on how to import agriculture products into Australia, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you are thinking of importing diesel generators, fences, pesticides or ploughing machinery — it’s good to know that the agriculture industry is one of the fastest growing Australian imports.
Machinery is Australia’s number 1 most imported product and it has the numbers to show for it. Over US $31.6 billion of machinery is imported into Australia, making up almost 16% of total imports.
Understand the rules of importing
When it comes to importing agricultural goods into Australia, there are regulations that can be restrictive. Especially if your product has traces of chemical substances, plant or animal products or organic compounds such as soil, timber or wood.
You can find helpful information from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on areas you’ll need to consider when you’re importing. This department protects Australia against biosecurity risks and addresses food safety. You will need to understand these rules and make sure you follow them.
Learn about any restrictions on the types of products you can import
You can find out if your goods are allowed to be imported to Australia with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ biosecurity import conditons system.
You may be required to obtain approval if your products contain the following:
- Plant or plant products.
- Animal or animal products.
- Biological products.
- Timber, wood, bamboo or related products.
Check any possible restrictions for the products you’re interested in, and if you’re not sure, contact the Australian Border Force.
Source the agriculture products you’d like to import
Sourcing for goods is a major step to importing. Remember to carry out some market research and get an idea of the goods, price range, brand, quality, and other factors your potential customers may want. Use this insight to help you source for items.
There are various places you can find items to sell, these include:
- Alibaba — A huge online marketplace that provides millions of different types of items, mainly available from China.
- Amazon — Look through the various marketplaces to find suppliers of watches and approach them directly. You’ll also be able to find luxury brands here.
- Ebay — Some manufacturers and distributors will list items on the popular auction website.
Hints and tips on choosing the right agriculture products
- Avoid importing products that are already available through the major retailers in Australia. They buy in bulk and you’ll never be able to compete with them on price.
- Always source items based on what you know about your prospective customers. Base your decisions on your data and research.
- Read reviews on the quality and customer service others have received from your prospective suppliers. Research them as much as you can before placing an order.
- Always request a sample of any items you’re interested in. When you receive it, check the quality and workmanship. You might want to look into the authenticity of the products.
- Ask the supplier about their terms for payment, how long it will take them to send the product to you, what protections and guarantees you have, and what their policies are on returns. If you are satisfied and you’ve finished your due diligence, sign a contract with them.
Make sure your agriculture products are labelled accurately
Imported goods must be properly labelled. This includes the country of manufacture and origin, a true description of the goods, a sender’s address, and a recipient’s address. The labels should be in English, attached to the goods in a prominent position and be clear and easy to read. You can find full details of labelling requirements here.
Understand costs to import agriculture products
Now you know the products you want to buy, you’ll need to understand the total cost to your business.
This includes the following:
- The cost of buying the agriculture products in the first place (the wholesale costs).
- The costs of shipping the agriculture products from its place of manufacture to Australia (logistics and distribution costs).
- The tariffs and duties you’ll need to pay when importing into Australia.
You will almost certainly have to pay some taxes and tariffs on your imported goods. Spend some time learning about:
- Import entry costs and processing charges which you can find here.
- Understanding how to value goods for customs duty taxes.
- Find out if you have to pay goods and services tax.
- Getting the right tariff classification for your goods.
- You’ll also need an Australian Business Number to claim tax credits and defer tax payments. You should contact your taxation office for more information.
If your goods are valued at over $1,000 AUD, you will almost certainly have to pay import duty and GST on them.
- Import entry costs and processing charges – Customs will charge you a fee (typically under $200 AUD) for processing your goods.
- Customs import duty is calculated as a percentage of the price you paid for the goods. The duty rate can range from 0% to 10%, but the rate for most goods is 5%.
- Goods and services sales tax (GST) will also be charged based on the following:
- The valuation of the goods plus;
- The customs import duty amount plus;
- The cost of insuring the goods and transporting them to Australia.
- GST is charged at 10% of the final amount.
This is just intended as a general guide – These charges can be influenced by what you’re bringing in, excise taxes, free trade agreements, and many other factors. Please check with customs for your individual circumstances.
Figuring out your costs
Before you commit to importing, it’s essential to organise your business finances. Figure out how much each product would cost for to purchase.
- price per item (buying or manufacturing)
- transport and logistics
- exchange rates
- operational costs
- salaries of people you need to pay
- duties, tariffs and taxes
- and everything else that goes into running a business.
Use all of these costs to help you set your selling price.
Paying for your goods in foreign currency
Importing agriculture products are usually done in US dollars or Chinese Yuan - but this depends on where you're sourcing from.
Consider using OFX.
They specialise in international payments and receipts for Australian businesses. Each client has a personal manager and access to a range of useful products like Forward Exchange Contracts, Options, Limit Orders and Currency Options.
OFX is a trusted partner of The Currency Shop. Click on this link , sign up and never pay a transfer fee for your international money transfers. Ever.
OFX charges no transaction fees. Minimum transfer A$250. Third party intermediary fees may still apply.
Learn more about OFX
What about receiving money in foreign currency?
Until recently, Australian businesses had 3 options to receive money from overseas customers:
- Get paid into a local Australian based, Australian dollar account.
- Open a Foreign Currency Account, usually with a bank
- Use a payment gateway like PayPal, Braintree or Stripe
Unfortunately, these options are usually filled with fees, balance requirements or massive exchange rate mark-ups.
In October 2017, TransferWise released the Borderless account in Australia and it’s really impressive. It allows you to receive, hold and transfer 27 different currencies.
A unique feature that is particularly useful for businesses, is the ability to have local bank account details in USD, EUR, GBP or AUD. This makes receiving money from overseas customers exceptionally easy.