Business

Amazon to block Australian shoppers from its US website

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Australians won't be able to buy items from Amazon's US online store as the e-commerce giant prepares for new online goods tax laws.

Amazon is set to block Australian consumers from buying products from its overseas e-commerce sites in response to the nation's good and services tax changes.

Shoppers visiting the US store Amazon.com and the online behemoth's other overseas sites will be redirected to Amazon.com.au from July 1.

This coincides with GST changes where online retailers will have to apply the 10 per cent GST to goods bought from overseas sites and shipped to Australia, where currently the tax only applies to imports of goods above $1,000.

An Amazon spokesperson said the change will allow the company to remain compliant with local laws.

"While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites," a spokesperson told SBS News.

"Based on our assessment, we will redirect Australian customers from our international sites to amazon.com.au where they can shop for products sold by Amazon US on the new Global Store, available today.

"This will allow us to provide our customers with continued access to international selection and remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas."

Amazon says the Global Store will allow Australians to shop on amazon.com.au for more than four million items that were previously only accessible from amazon.com.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new laws "level the playing field for Australian businesses".

"The government doesn't apologise for ensuring multinationals pay a fair amount of tax here in Australia," he said.

Amazon only launched a local Australian site last December, shipping from a warehouse in Melbourne with another planned in Sydney.

It had around $1 billion in sales from Australia annually through shipping from overseas ahead of the launch, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

Retail stocks on the ASX rose following Amazon's announcement.

At 2:22pm Thursday, shares in local e-commerce site Kogan.com were up 11 cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $9.18, while shares of electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman were up about 2.3 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.

SBS News reached out to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) but it did not provide comment.

Additional reporting: AFP

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