Amazon reverses decision to block international sites in Australia

Amazon is no longer going to block users in Australia from accessing Amazon.com or other international versions of the site. In July, Amazon started redirecting Australian users to Amazon.com.au and stopped shipping to Australian addresses following new goods and service tax (GST) legislation that requires retailers to collect 10 percent tax on imports.

“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 spokesperson told The New York Times. The company says it’s “building the complex infrastructure needed to enable exports of low value goods to Australia and remain compliant with GST laws.”

The legislation was intended to help smaller Australian businesses compete with larger online retailers based outside the country, but Amazon’s withdrawal was criticized by consumers and politicians alike. “You don’t get a special deal because you’re a big company or a multinational,” said treasurer at the time and now prime minister Scott Morrison. “I think it is disappointing that Amazon has taken this out on consumers in Australia — but that is their commercial position.” Customers, meanwhile, bemoaned the smaller selection of products available on Amazon’s Australian site.

The backtrack comes right in time for Black Friday, which should give Australian users a good opportunity to see whether using the international site is still worth it after Amazon’s tax compliance. There is one potential catch: the Times reports that third-party sellers will remain unable to ship items to Australia.