Australian govt considering international e-commerce parcel tax

There could be an AUD $5 parcel tax on every parcel sent to Australia from abroad according to local media sources. The Australian government would institute this to cover the costs of border security as well as screening checks.

According to Australian media the new parcel tax would be applied to every parcel heading to the country containing e-commerce goods of a lower value than AUD $1000. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “industry sources have calculated the cost at between $2 and $6 per parcel, with the most likely figure being a flat rate of $5”.

A spokesperson for eBay was quoted as saying that the online marketplace had “serious concerns over any proposed levy”, arguing that it “will hit consumers hard and is not in the spirit of free trade”.

Meanwhile, Global Trade Professionals Alliance chief executive Lisa McAuley has warned that the parcel tax could spark a retaliatory move from other countries, including China (one of the primary sources of the e-commerce parcels coming into Australia).

McAuley was quoted as saying: “There is a real threat that if Australia introduces this measure domestically, other countries will reciprocate and that could be very damaging for many small to medium enterprises that have been able to expand into international markets.”

While a logical way to cover the costs of e-commerce the parcel tax could impede the burgeoning international e-commerce trade that is affecting nearly every border in the world. While not quite the tariffs that Donald Trump is instituting against China, it could well infuriate those in source countries…