SYDNEY: Australian consumers will be blocked from shopping on Amazon’s international websites from July 1st as the US online retail giant objects to the introduction of a new Goods and Services (GST) tax.
It means Australians will be forced to use Amazon’s much smaller local website, which was launched at the end of last year and stocks about 60 million products compared to the 480 million products available on amazon.com, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The move is in response to recent legislation, due to come into force at the beginning of July, which will add 10% GST on all online purchases made on international sites that are then shipped to Australia.
Currently, GST is applied only to products bought overseas that are worth more than A$1,000 (US$756) and the new tax has been introduced followed heavy lobbying by local retailers, who have long-argued for a level playing field.
“While we regret any inconvenience this may cause consumers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites,” said Amazon in a statement.
However, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison remained uncompromising, insisting that Amazon had to play by the same rules as everyone else.
“The second biggest company in the world, run by the richest man in the world, shouldn’t get a leave pass from paying tax in Australia,” he said.
“If multinationals aren’t forced to pay their fair share of tax, they will have a competitive advantage over other retailers here in Australia, on our own main streets and in our shopping centres.”
There had been concerns that US-based eBay would also restrict access to its global websites because the company had argued against the new GST levy, ABC reported.
But instead, eBay announced: “We won’t block Aussie buyers, redirect them or require them to pretend they are located overseas. Australians will continue to be able to buy from any eBay site.”
As it defended its decision to restrict access to its global sites, Amazon said it would make an extra four million products available on its Australian website. These were previously only for sale on amazon.com.
Sourced from Sydney Morning Herald, ABC; additional content by WARC staff