SYDNEY (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it would force Australians to use their Australian website instead of their much larger US site starting July 1 to avoid a new sales tax on certain imported products.
The online retail giant said it would redirect Australians to the newly launched Australian site once 10 percent of the goods and services tax (GST) was applied to imported products online worth less than A $ 1,000 ($ 756) since the beginning of fiscal year 2018-2019.
"While we regret any inconvenience this may cause to customers, we have had to assess the viability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites," an Amazon spokesperson said in an email.
The measure will generate traffic to the Australian Amazon website, which has generated criticism for a range of thin products and uncompetitive prices since it began receiving orders in December.
However, it can also benefit Australian retailers, who have been hit by the increase in online purchases and have campaigned for the GST to apply to all products shipped from abroad.
So far, GST has been applied only to most products sold in Australia and imported products worth more than A $ 1,000, which makes imported low-cost items cheaper than their counterparts. the local stores.
"The government does not apologize for ensuring that multinationals pay a fair amount of taxes here in Australia," a spokeswoman for Treasurer Scott Morrison said in an email.
"Several other countries are adopting a similar approach and adopting a supplier compilation model to collect GST of low value imported products".
Shares of local e-commerce site Kogan.com Ltd rose 1.5 percent in the middle of trading session, while shares of electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi Ltd and Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd rose approximately 1 percent. The broader market rose around 0.5 percent.
Some 4.6 million adult Australians visited the Amazon site in the USA. UU In November 2017, a month before its Australian website was launched, according to consumer metrics company The Nielsen Co.
Amazon says that its Australian unit offers 60 million products in 23 categories, compared to more than half a billion products on its US site UU
Byron Kaye report; Edition of Stephen Coates