USA

The AUSFTA secured access to one of Australia's key markets. The United States is currently Australia's 4th-highest ranking export partner. The Agreement was designed to reinforce and strengthen economic ties between the Australian and United States Governments, as well as encourage a closer economic partnership.

Now in its 11th year, all non-agricultural goods imported into the United States from Australia under the AUSFTA are duty-free. Certain agricultural goods, such as beef, dairy and cotton, remain subject to quotas. Such imports enjoy greater duty-free access to the US market than imports from most other countries. Upon full implementation of the AUSFTA, agricultural tariffs will be removed (except for sugar, and out-of-quota dairy).

For detailed FTA information, please visit: http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/ausfta/Pages/australia-united-states-fta.aspx

Recent changes have been made to the E-3 Visa requirements. For details, visit: http://dfat.gov.au/geo/united-states-of-america/Pages/e-3-visas-for-the-united-states.aspx

Date in force

  • 1 January 2005
  • Currently in year 10
  • Full implementation by 1 January 2023

Direct benefits

  • Duties on more than 97 per cent of US non-agricultural tariff lines (excluding textiles and clothing) became duty free from day one of the Agreement. With textiles and clothing being duty free from 2015.
  • All metals and minerals are duty free under the AUSFTA.
  • Duties on 75% of agricultural products were dropped to zero by 2008 including most horticultural products.
  • Duty free quota increases on beef culminating in unlimited duty free access in 2023.
  • Duty free lamb and sheep meat from 2008.
  • Duty free wine by 2015.
  • Services receive guaranteed market access and non-discriminatory treatment.

Below you will find a way to look up the tariffs associated with a SELECTION of popular Australian exports. PLEASE NOTE: this is not a tariff calculator OR an exhaustive list. We recommend obtaining professional advice for products not listed here.

Indirect benefits

A framework for the promotion of mutual recognition of qualifications for professional services has been put in place.

Non-discriminatory treatment in respect of procurement by the US Federal Government and 31 State Governments.

Government Procurement

  • The AUSFTA Government Procurement Chapter is one of the most potentially useful outcomes for Australian companies.
  • It affords access to a variety of federal and state procurement contracts over specified dollar amounts that previously may not have been open to Australian suppliers.
  • The most tangible benefits:
    • Designated country status for Australia.
    • Waiver of the "Buy American" penalties on Federal procurements from a number of departments and agencies of supplies and services and construction services. This waiver has made Australian companies more price competitive on many contracts.
  • And, various other more general protections are also now afforded to Australian suppliers including guaranteed non-discriminatory treatment and transparency in the bidding process.
  • On the State level, 31 U.S. States agreed to apply these principles to their procurement processes as well, potentially opening up a variety of new opportunities to Australian companies.
  • Sales to the U.S. Federal Government are completely different from commercial sales.
  • This reflects in large part the purchasing power of the Federal Government.
  • Suppliers must agree to a whole panoply of requirements and obligations imposed by the buyer both in the supply contract, under Federal law and in U.S. Government procurement regulations.
  • The latter are known as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
  • Individual departments also have their own supplements to the FAR.
  • For detailed information on the FAR, please visit: https://www.acquisition.gov/?q=browsefar
  • These various requirements dictate required business practices of the contractor, formulas for and restrictions on pricing, detailed cost criteria and a range of other restrictions and obligations.
  • The regulations also have highly specialised provisions on the treatment and ownership of intellectual property that must be studied and considered carefully prior to entering into a contract, or subcontract on a Federal Government project.
  • The process of adhering to these contracting requirements and submitting a responsive and compliant bid is highly complex and involves a large amount of advance preparation on the part of intending bidders.
  • There is no tolerance within the system for bids that fail to meet the detailed requirements set forth in the RFP and in legal and regulatory provisions and clauses incorporated by reference.

There are also various different strategies for contracting with the Federal Government that should be considered. These include:

  • Offering a good or service as a sole source product.
  • Offering a good or service as an off-the-shelf item.
  • Seeking to qualify for a small business set-aside contract.
  • Seeking U.S. Government R & D funding for a project.
  • Selling via a prime contractor.
  • Licensing vs selling to the Government via a prime contractor.
  • Because of the complexity of the U.S. federal acquisition system, many non-U.S. companies seek to act as a subcontractor to a prime on a federal procurement.
  • This can be a viable strategy but you still need to understand the procurement system and be able to make the case for your good, service or technology.
  • You will need to understand the potential risks of contracting through a prime, and be aware of the fact that the federal procurement regulations often flow down to subcontractors and will apply to your performance as well.

Certificate of Origin

In order to receive the benefits of the AUSFTA, a product must originate from Australia according to the rules of AUSFTA.

There are no origin certification requirements under AUSFTA. However, the importer must have knowledge or information that the import qualifies for preferential treatment.

Doing business with USA

There are many things to consider before embarking upon an export journey. Doing business in the USA presents some unique challenges, but there are a number of key areas to consider before doing any international business.

The areas to consider are:

Business activities and risks

  • Location
  • Legal Structure
  • Direct tax
  • Funding
  • Repatriation of profits
  • Transfer pricing
  • Withholding tax
  • Indirect tax
  • Staffing

For a full checklist that will put you on the right path to doing business in the USA, click HERE.

Want to know more? Visit the Export Council of Australia’s website.

Useful resources