Australia and the United States have historically strong trade relations. In 2014-15 Australia exported $13.4 billion worth of goods to the US. That same year, the US imported $44.1 billion worth of goods into Australia. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s (ATIC) research shows a business that exports goods is more profitable as it can open your business to new markets, ideas and marketing techniques.

Below, we set out what steps you will take to export your goods to the US. 

Who Will Receive the Goods?

You will need to consider who will receive the goods once they reach the US. In this situation, you should draft an “export agreement” in place to clarify any ambiguities. Your other option is to set-up a business in the US, and there are various Visa options available should you wish to do this.

Export Declaration Documents

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the DIBP) will need to approve your goods before they head off to the US – usually by way of reviewing your completed Export Declaration Form.

When your goods exceed $2,000 AUD, you must declare them on your Export Declaration (form: B957) and lodge it with the DIBP. You must complete the same form when you want to export goods that exceed $2,000 AUD via Australia Post.

Permits to Export Goods

Unless exempt, products usually require a permit before you can export. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is a good starting point. When you do require a permit, you will need to obtain it from the relevant Australian authority.

For example, for the export of wine, brandy, grape spirit and wine products that are over 100 litres you will need a permit, licence and product registrations. These requirements are obtained and approved by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority.

Agricultural Products

Some agricultural products will have strict legal and administrative requirements for export such as licensing requirements and health certificates. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources can provide more information about the requirements.

What You Can’t Do

Australia does not allow the export of protected wildlife, some heritage items, selected weapons and other dangerous goods. The US does not allow imports of bush meat, cars that don’t protect passengers in a crash, or illegal substances like absinthe and Rohypnol.

The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

The AUSFTA supports the value of harmonious trade between Australia and the US. For many products exported from Australia to the US, the taxes and tariffs have been lifted. You can check to see whether your products are free from any tax burdens by viewing this full list. Any claim for preferential tax treatment of exported goods must be supported by a “Certificate of Origin” confirming that the product came from Australia.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

As an Australian business, you are more likely than not registered for GST. Fortunately, goods exported outside of Australia are GST-free, if within 60-days you:

  1. Received payment for the goods; or
  2. Issued an invoice for the goods.

Key Takeaways

Depending on what kind of products you are looking to export to the US, you will need to comply with certain regulations. It’s then prudent to familarise yourself with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website and research beforehand.


If you have any questions about exporting goods to the US, get in touch with our business lawyers on 1300 544 755.

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