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Guide to Australia's import taxes for Singapore businesses
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According to Trading Economics, Singapore remains Australia's fifth largest trading partner, with total exports from Singapore amounting to US$13.03 billion. Among the most popular exports from Singapore to Australia are mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products (US$ 5.82 billion); machinery and boilers (US$1.66 billion); electricals and electronic equipment (US$841.48 million); and miscellaneous edible preparations (US$470.25 million). 

Australia's stable political climate, robust economy, and strong governance are great benefits that make it a profitable market. Additionally, with the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) in place, Australia becomes the perfect destination for Singapore businesses looking to export their products.

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How SAFTA affects Singapore exports to Australia

Preferential import tax and duty fees are great, but SAFTA takes things further by eliminating all tariffs for goods traded between Singapore and Australia. In other words, businesses from Singapore can save on customs duties and import taxes when exporting their products to Australia. This reduction in costs gives Singaporean businesses the benefit of having the option to price their goods more competitively, especially when compared to Australia’s less-favoured trading partners. 

The elimination of tariffs under SAFTA also enables businesses from Singapore to compete with local Australian companies on a levelled playing field. Furthermore, SAFTA reduces non-tariff barriers that may have otherwise limited the access Singaporean businesses have to the Australian market. This includes technological regulations and standards, meaning Singaporean businesses are empowered to compete through pricing and quality alone

Documents necessary for SAFTA exemptions

To take advantage of the preferential treatment under SAFTA, Singaporean businesses need to provide the appropriate documentation to Australian authorities. The necessary documents include a certificate of origin (COO) and an invoice that provides the details of the transaction, including the: 

  • Buyer and seller

  • Products being traded

  • Value of the goods

The COO certifies that the goods being exported from Singapore to Australia meet the necessary requirements stated in Article 3, Chapter 3 of SAFTA. This document must be certified and presented to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service upon your goods’ entry into Australia.

For Singapore exports to Australia to be eligible for duty-free access into Australia, they must be: 

  • Wholly obtained or manufactured in Singapore, or 

  • Partially manufactured, with 

    • the last process of manufacture taking place in Singapore, and 

    • meeting the minimum level of local content stated under SAFTA

  • Partially manufactured, with

    • the goods in question having met accumulation provisions, and

    • meeting the minimum level of local content stated under SAFTA 

Most goods traded under SAFTA require a minimum of 50% local content, but certain electrical and electronic products subject to Tariff Concession Orders only require 30% local content. Goods subjected to the 30% threshold are listed in Annex 2D of SAFTA. 

Except for a variety of clothing and footwear, passenger motor vehicle items, and jewellery exports, the accumulation provisions of SAFTA are applicable to all goods being imported into Australia from Singapore. The products exempt from the accumulation provisions can be found in Annex 2 C of SAFTA.

Lastly, in addition to the COO and invoice, other export documents, such as transport documents and insurance certificates, may be required when importing into Australia. Singaporean businesses should consult with their logistics providers to ensure they have all the necessary documents, such that they avoid any unnecessary customs charges and import fees that could have been avoided.

Choose DHL Express when exporting to Australia

Ship with DHL Express for reliable and efficient logistics when exporting to Australia and beyond from Singapore. With a proven track record in the region, we offer a variety of shipping services, including import and export service and sustainable shipping. We also provide end-to-end visibility and real-time tracking for your peace of mind.

Open a business account with DHL Express, and enjoy international shipping made easy and efficient.