A quick guide to shipping to Thailand from Australia

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Thailand is Australia's tenth largest two-way trading partner globally, and shipping goods between the two countries can be a challenging process for even the most experienced business people. With the right planning, however, shipping goods to Thailand from Australia can be made much easier.

Are you a business looking to ship items from Australia to Thailand? With an abundance of amazing products unique and available only in Australia, shipping there could be the perfect way to extend your reach. Before sending parcels to customers in Thailand, understanding the process of shipping overseas is key. With careful planning and research into available couriers in Australia, your overseas delivery can be a seamless experience. In this guide, learn everything you need to know about how to ship safely and efficiently from Australia to Thailand.

Essential documentation needed

Complying with Thai customs and industry regulations is essential when shipping goods to Thailand. As such, you will be required to present these documents when you pick up your parcels:

  • Notification letter: This is in the form of an air waybill (AWB). If the consignee is a juristic person, such as the name of the company in place of an individual, the AWB must come with a signature of an authorised person from your company, along side the company stamp on the back of the paper. 
  • Identification: Thai citizens must present their national identification card or any other official card employed by the Thai government, while foreigners can show their passports. Juristic persons will need to provide a photocopy of the authorised person’s identity card (the company’s owner or superior’s identification will also be accepted) as well as that of the company’s attorney with their signature.
  • Company registration certificate: For juristic persons, a company-stamped registration certificate is mandatory.
  • Shipping invoice: For your package to clear customs, the shipping invoice must indicate itemised product descriptions with values, weight and price.
  • Licences & permits: Importation of controlled goods require special permissions from authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Minstry of Public Health (pharmaceuticals and medical items), Department of Mineral Resoirces and Ministry of Industry (industrial materials); Ministry of Interior (arms, ammunition and explosive devices) and Fine Arts Department and Ministry of Education (antiques and art objects).
  • Certificates of Origin: These are required to qualify for tariff reductions and eliminations outlined in the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).
  • Packing list: Indicate clearly the items with descriptions, weights and sizes

Import regulations in Thailand

Goods that are restricted for entry will require a form of licence or permit to clear customs. Should you import goods to Thailand without an import licence or the equivalent, you will be subjected to fines of up to 20% of the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value or a maximum THB20,000. If the customs process has already begun and you are are unable to secure the necessary permissions, you must pay the fines. Do note that your shipments will be confiscated thereafter. If the customs process is not started, you do not have to pay the fines but you will need to abandon your shipments in Thailand as they cannot return to Australia without the necessary licence.

Penalties can reach as high as four times the original value of your shipment; the importer is fully responsible for any under-declared value and inaccurate description of goods.

To avoid unnecessary costs, ensure you acquire the required licences and permits for the following items:

1. Non-hazardous chemicals

You need an import and export licence from the government to ship chemicals, liquids, and non-hazardous substances. A composition sheet and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is also required when shipping these chemicals to Thailand.

2. Prescription drugs

Prescription drugs can only be shipped by an authorised importer with an import licence from the Ministry of Public Health. Only a reasonable amount of personal prescription drugs, for example, a month's worth of personal supplements, is allowed for shipping to Thailand. This must be accompanied by an affidavit letter stating that they are not for commercial use. An original Thai doctor’s prescription is also required to confirm that the patient was prescribed with such medication. In addition, an import license and approval from the FDA is needed when shipping for personal use.

3. Medical Equipment

You need an import licence to bring in medical equipment like massagers, personal test kits, and gadgets that measure blood pressure or heart rate. You can only bring in one item for personal use along with a certificate from a Thai doctor stating that the patient needs the equipment for well-being. An import licence and approval from the FDA is also necessary when shipping for personal use. However, individuals are prohibited from importing COVID-19 test kits and vaccines.

4. Cosmetics

When shipping cosmetics, you need a licence or an exemption approval from the FDA. If it’s for personal use, you can only ship six pieces to Thailand. 

5. Foods

You need an import licence from the Ministry of Public Health to bring food, including grain, into the country. You are only allowed to bring a reasonable quantity for personal use. In addition, an import licence and approval from the FDA is needed when shipping for personal use. 

6. Alcoholic beverages

You need an import licence from the Excise Department to import alcoholic beverages that are more than 10 liters, or if you are importing them for commercial purposes. Please note that when you ship alcoholic beverages from Australia to Thailand, they are also subject to excise tax and import duty.

7. Communications equipment

Electronic gadgets for communications require specialised permits prior to shipping them to Thailand. The Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commissions (NBTC) issues import licences for equipment such as modems, satellite devices, television boxes or mobile devices, while a separate approval has to be sought from the Ministry of Commerce in case you are considering bringing in a 3D printer.

8. Computer software

When shipping out computer software to Thailand, make sure to include a licence or copyright fee on the invoice for accurate customs valuation.

9. Electronics 

To ensure a smooth journey for your electronic equipment like a drone with camera, secure an import licence from the NBTC before shipping to Thailand.

Customs tariffs, duties and taxes in Thailand

Paying import duties and taxes is a standard procedure when shipping overseas. When you send your parcels from Australia to Thailand, you can avoid paying these if your CIF value is no more than the de minis value of THB1,500. 

Goods that are liable for duty will have their tariffs determined on an ad valorem basis by the global classifications of import, the Harmonised System (HS) code. In addition, a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 7% applies on the sale of goods in Thailand till 30 September 2023. 

However, with the TAFTA and AANZFTA, you can enjoy tariff eliminatiosn and reductions on a majority of goods, representing a prime economic opportunity for Australian businesses to grow their business in this nation.

Make shipping to Thailand easier with DHL Express

For those shipping to Thailand, be assured of a timely and efficient delivery with DHL Express. We make shipping easier than ever before by leveraging our decades of experience and understanding of the global shipping industry, as well as our unparalleled international shipping network that help us tap on the most efficient flight routes. Our reliable shipping solutions are tailored to help your shipments travel from Australia to Thailand with utmost convenience and safety – whether you're shipping from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth. Leverage DHL Express for the smoothest delivery experience when sending items to Thailand. Open a DHL Express business account now.