Amazon launched in Australia last year and is hoping to make inroads in a huge market for online retail (Lionel BONAVENTURE)
Sydney (AFP) – Global online retail giant Amazon will allow users in Australia to shop in its US store again, reports said Thursday, reversing an earlier, unpopular move to block access over local tax laws.
The decision to re-open access to Australia’s growing e-commerce market comes ahead of the annual “Black Friday” shopping bonanza, with online and brick-and-mortar retailers offering bargains pegged to the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Amazon had barred Australian shoppers from ordering from its international websites in May because of new tax laws, under which web retailers are required to collect a 10 percent goods and services tax (GST) on everything bought from overseas sites.
The decision was widely criticised by shoppers in Australia — one of the world’s biggest economies — because the number of products available on the local site were a fraction of what was on offer globally.
“As a result of customer feedback, from 22 November Amazon customers will be able to ship eligible items from amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses,” an Amazon representative told national broadcaster ABC.
“Our teams have continued to focus their efforts on building the complex infrastructure needed to enable exports of low value goods to Australia and remain compliant with GST laws.”
The new tax rules in Australia were imposed from July 1 after years of lobbying by struggling local retailers, which have to apply GST to all online and in-store sales.
The government had said then that the move would “level the playing field for Australian businesses”.
Amazon, one of the world’s biggest companies, launched in Australia just under a year ago with what it said was its biggest-ever opening day for orders.
Online shopping accounts for a small percentage of total sales in Australia, leaving room for growth in a retail sector estimated to be worth more than Aus$300 billion (US$227 billion) annually.
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