Amazon will soon be sub-prime, if you live in Australia. The company is blocking Aussies from shopping on its international websites, and limiting them instead to its much smaller local platform, Amazon.com.au.
The change, which takes effect July 1, is Amazon’s response to a 10% goods and services tax that Australia is adding to all imported online goods worth less than A$1,000 ($756). Previously, GST only applied to most goods and services sold in Australia, as well as imports worth more than A$1,000, giving companies that sold cheap imported goods an advantage over local suppliers.
“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,” an Amazon spokesman told Reuters. Goods sold on Amazon.com, the US site, will cease shipping to Australia on July 1.
Amazon is still fairly new in Australia, where it only launched in December 2017. Amazon.com.au has roughly a tenth the selection of Amazon’s US website, with about 60 million products compared to nearly half a billion. When Amazon first launched in Australia, local media also reported that prices on the site weren’t all that great, and could be beat at regular department stores.
For now, the GST change looks like a win for local businesses, which will have an easier time retaining shoppers while Amazon builds out its Australian inventory. But taxes seem unlikely to protect brick-and-mortar shops from Amazon—.com or .com.au—in the long run.