Amazon Geoblocks Australians From Its Overseas Websites

The e-commerce site is not used to being regulated by a government.

Amazon Workers Protest Against Jeff Bezos
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The e-commerce site is not used to being regulated by a government.

Australian shoppers hoping to spend some of their hard-earned money online are in for a headache after Amazon announced it would be geoblocking them from its overseas websites ahead of a forthcoming tax change. Australians won’t be able to access Amazon’s international websites, and will be stuck with Amazon.com.au, a much smaller local platform that lacks the options and resources of the e-commerce giant’s other services.

As of July 1, Australians will have to say goodbye to their international access to Amazon’s services. The change in service is thanks to a 10 percent goods and services tax instituted by Australia on all imported goods worth less than A$1,000, or $756 USD, which would predominately hit online e-retailers like Amazon.

A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed to the Financial Times that this was the first time in the e-retailer’s history it’s ever taken this kind of step in response to a new regulatory environment. Like most services in the country, Amazon’s Australian platform charges significantly higher prices for delivery and shipment options than its international platforms do.

“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,” Amazon noted in a statement, per FT.

The additional regulatory hurdle instituted by Australian authorities was done in support of local retailers, who traditionally suffer when massive companies like Amazon begin to encroach on local market shares. While the retail industry as a whole is being fundamentally transformed by the rise of digital services, many blame Amazon in particular for shoving out small businesses in areas it moves into.

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President Donald Trump recently ignited a feud with the e-commerce behemoth, claiming it was “putting many thousands of retailers out of jobs,” according to Business Insider. Amazon claims the company’s low-pricing and efficacy are responsible for its sizable growth over the past decade.

Amazon’s services are relatively new to Australia in general, given that the company only launched its services there as recently as December of 2017. Amazon.com.au is significantly smaller than Amazon’s traditional platform, offering only 60 million produces compared to the half a billion products offered on the company’s U.S. site, per the Sydney Morning Herald.

The “Amazon tax” was only the first step taken by local legislators in response to the company’s entrance into the nation’s market, and it remains to be seen if it will be the last.