Australia Import Processing Charge When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

import processing charge guide

About to import products from China, Vietnam or elsewhere, to Australia? If the total importation value is above AU$1,000, you’ll need to submit an import declaration and pay an import processing charge of at least 50 Australian Dollars.

In this guide, we explain what Australian importers must know about the Import Processing Charge:

  • Import Processing Charge Overview
  • Reduced rates for warehoused goods
  • When and how to pay the Import Processing Charge
  • Exemptions, small volumes, and sample orders
  • Import Processing Charge for online purchases and private importers

What is the Import Processing Charge when importing from China, Vietnam or India?

The importing processing charge depends on the customs value (CVAL) and whether you submit the import declaration manually or online. However, unlike import duties which may differ depending on the country of origin, the import processing charge is always the same.

As such, you’ll pay as much for a shipment coming in from China, as one from Vietnam or any other foreign country.

Import Processing Charge Overview

You can either submit the N10 or N20 import declaration by post (manual) or online. You can also request your freight forwarder to assist you with the import declaration. Note that the import processing charge is significantly lower than submitting an online declaration.

Electronic Declaration

Customs ValueImport Processing Charge (AUD)
≤ $1,000None
> $1,000 to < $10,000 $50
≥ $10,000$152

Manual Declaration

Customs ValueImport Processing Charge (AUD)
> $1,000 to < $10,000 $90
≥ $10,000$192

Warehoused Goods

A reduced import processing charge applies to imported goods stored in a licensed warehouse. Such warehouses can be used for temporary imports and re-exports, but cannot be sold within Australia.

  • Electronic Declaration (All CVAL): AU$23
  • Manual Declaration (All CVAL): AU$23

Notice that this is irrelevant if you intend to import goods for sale within Australia.

Import Processing Charge Calculation

The import processing charge only depends on the customs value (CVAL) and whether you submit paperwork or manage it online. Unlike for import duties and GST in Australia, the import processing charge is not calculated as a percentage of the customs value – but a fixed rate depending on the thresholds specified in the two tables above.

When do I pay the Import Processing Charge?

The import processing charge is normally paid once the shipment arrives in the Australian port of loading. You can either pay the import processing charge directly or let your freight forwarder manage for this you.

The import processing charge is never paid directly to your supplier. As such, it shall not be added or included in any invoice issued by the supplier.

Can I reduce the Import Processing Charge?

Submitting an electronic declaration, rather than submitting paper copies by mail, is the easiest way to reduce the import processing charge. Beyond that, the only thing you can do to further reduce it is by lowering the customs value.

By law, you must truthfully declare the actual customs value when importing goods to Australia. That said, there are few things you can do to legally cut it down a bit:

1. Reduce the unit price

2. Use existing tooling (to reduce the prototype expenses)

3. Buy services from Australian service providers, rather than paying your supplier for design and product development

That said, a reduced customs value will only affect the import processing charge if it’s slightly above the threshold. If not, a reduced CVAL has no impact whatsoever.

Are some shipments exempt from the Import Processing Charge?

Yes, cargo valued at AU$1,000 or less is exempt from the import processing charge. As such, you don’t need to pay this fee when importing small shipments or product samples.

Further, you don’t need to submit an import declaration for goods valued at AU$1,000 or below.

Do private importers need to pay the Import Processing Charge?

As explained on this page, you don’t need to pay the import processing charge as long as the total importation value is AU$1,000 or less. However, if it’s valued above AU$1,000, you need to submit an import declaration and pay the same amount as specified in the two tables above.

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