Importing From Oceania to the UK: A Guide for Businesses

Also known as Oceanica, this area of the world consists of the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Click the links below to find out more about importing from each country.

There is no precise definition of the range of the region, but here we are using the broader definition, which includes:


  • Australia, Australian Islands, and New Zealand
  • Melanesia
  • Micronesia
  • Polynesia


We are excluding Indonesia and the Philippines.


An important part of the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific economic area, there are many opportunities to expand your business with Oceania. Australia and New Zealand are the biggest countries, with advanced economies and large populations, and they are some of the easiest countries to trade with.


However, there are more than two markets in this region. For instance, there is French Polynesia, American Samoa and independent islands too.

Shipping from Oceania

There are a number of ways that you can get your goods from Oceania to the UK, with the main two being by air and sea.


Air freight is the quickest method of getting your imports given the vast distance. If time is of the essence, then this is the best option, though it is the most expensive.


Sea freight is a cheaper solution, but it will take much longer, but it is advisable for large orders. There may be extra costs for unloading and docking fees.

Tax and Duties for Importing from Oceania

Tax and duties when you’re importing depends on whether the market you’re importing from is within the EU or not.


You will be importing from outside EU when you import from Oceania, which means that you’ll have to pay VAT and duty on your goods. However, the Pacific Islands are in the process of negotiating with the EU on an Economic Partnership Agreement, to remove barriers in trade in goods and services, helping to promote business relations.


For now, you will need the right commodity code to determine the correct tax, duty and regulations that you’ll need to follow.



The amount of duty that you have to pay will depend on two different things, firstly how the goods are classified under the UK Trade Tariff and how the goods will be used once in the UK. The tariff will also flag up any restrictions on the items, as well as any other measures.


UK VAT standard is 20%, which will apply to most imports. Some items will have a reduced rate and others may be exempt from VAT altogether, such as art, antiques and more.


When items are first brought inside the EU, you will have to pay VAT directly to HMRC. If you’re VAT registered, make sure that you fill in a VAT return, as you can reclaim the VAT paid if the goods are for use in business.

Declaring Your Goods to HMRC

All imports from outside the EU must be declared to HMRC using the Single Administration Document, or SAD. You submit this through the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF). This records the declaration of goods imported by land, sea or air into the UK, and it allows traders to make their declarations quickly and accurately.


However, TNT can do this for you, making it a much easier process. We have an Express Import system that has options whatever your timescale or budget, so you can get your orders in a timely manner.


Restrictions and Limits

There is a ban on importing certain products from particular countries within Oceania, and restrictions on items such as torture equipment.


You may need an import licence, depending on what you’re importing. If you’re importing firearms, for instance, then you’ll need a licence. Use the online Trade Tariff to discover whether there are any restrictions on the goods that you intend to import into the UK.