Setting up in the UK for Australian exporters

With the UK business culture being very similar to Australia, now has never been a more poignant time for Australian companies to export their products and services to the UK market.


With the UK is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade regulatory requirements. However on the 23 June 2016, the UK held a referendum to answer the question: “should the UK remain a member of the EU, or leave the EU?” By a margin of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent, the UK voted to leave the EU (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’).

What this looks like in reality is somewhat unknown.

A common language, just a different spelling

While most Australian tend to be fairly more relaxed – the UK culture is more formal – for example, a ‘smart casual’ business attire would generally consist of a suit or jacket with an open shirt. A formal ‘business attire’ would use of a necktie.

Generally the use of the word ‘mate’ in a professional environment would not be used however to individual or company familiar with the Australian territory, ‘mate’ would often be seen as a friendly greeting. It wouldn’t be seen as offensive.

Generally, the UK Rate of VAT (similar to GST) is 20%. More on UK VAT Registration in detail here.

Professional support

Expansion to an overseas territory can often be time-consuming and potentially very costly if thorough research and professional advice is not undertaken prior to market-entry.

There are a number of government based organisations that can assist – mostly without fee-paying.

Department for International Trade (DIT)


Business Wales

Invest Northern Ireland

Scottish Development International

There are a number of professional service providers who are actively working with Australian companies looking to export and those that are currently operating in the UK. This article contains a short list of those international accountants in London who are very active within the Australian territory. They can assist with entity formation, bank accounts, payroll etc.

You need to establish an auto-enrolment pension, similar to a super-annuation. Rates differ depending on the contribution basis. Figures available here.

Government, business and trade organisations:

Australian British Chamber of Commerce
British Chambers of Commerce
British High Commission Canberra
Business Wales
Confederation of British Industry
European Australia Business Council
EU Customs
HM Revenue and Customs
Intellectual Property Office
Invest Northern Ireland
London & Partners
London Chamber of Commerce
National Statistics Online
Scottish Development International
Trading Standards
UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
UK Export Finance

For further information regarding your Australian operation exporting and setting up a UK see our Australian section or please do get in touch.