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Basics of importing and manufacturing chemicals

If you’re new to importing or manufacturing (introducing) chemicals into Australia, read this step-by-step guide to learn about your obligations.

What you need to know to get started - also explained on the page

Work out if you need to register

If you’re importing or manufacturing (introducing) industrial chemicals into Australia – or products that contain industrial chemicals – you’ll most likely need to register your business with us (AICIS). However, there are some circumstances where you may not need to register – such as importing products for personal or hobby use. If you’re unsure, learn more about 'Introductions that don't require categorisation and registration'.

You can also use our decision tool – do I need to register with AICIS?

Register your business

You register your business with us, not your products or chemicals.

You must register your business in any given registration year before you import or manufacture an industrial chemical. Our registration year is 1 September — 31 August.

We publish a list of registered businesses.

Most businesses will need an Australian business number (ABN) to register with us. However, if you are a small business wanting to introduce chemicals, you can still register without an active ABN. 

The cost of registration is a flat fee plus a charge that depends on the total value of industrial chemicals that you imported and/or manufactured (introduced) in the previous financial year (1 July - 30 June). Remember that it's about the value of introduced chemicals, not your sales or profit figures.

If you didn't import or manufacture any industrial chemicals last financial year, you pay the lowest registration fee – 'Level 1'.

View the current registration fee and charges

See also:

Categorise each chemical introduction

For each chemical that you want to import or manufacture, you must categorise it into one of these categories:

  • Listed introduction
  • Exempted introduction
  • Reported introduction 
  • Assessed introduction – if your chemical is already on the Inventory, you must apply to vary the Inventory terms of listing but if your chemical isn't on the Inventory, you must apply for an assessment certificate
  • Commercial evaluation – this is an alternative option to exempted, reported and assessed introductions – criteria and fee applies

Always start by checking whether your chemical importation or manufacture (introduction) is categorised as ‘listed' by following our online Categorisation Guide, starting at step 0 - Introductions that are listed. This step involves searching the Australian Inventory of Industrial Chemicals (the Inventory) by entering the CAS number or CAS name for each industrial chemical you want to introduce into the search bar.

Keep records and submit an annual declaration

Records about your introduction

You must keep records about your introduction (this depends on the introduction category).

You must also keep records relating to the total value of chemicals that you introduced to demonstrate that you are paying the correct amount of registration charge. Examples of records are commercial documents such as invoices, purchase order, import declarations or any other documents that identify products containing industrial chemicals and the value of those industrial chemicals.

Annual declarations - all introducers

You must also submit an annual declaration about the industrial chemicals you imported or manufactured during the registration year, which is 1 September to 31 August. This is a declaration you make about registration year and confirms that your introductions were authorised under our laws.

You can only submit your annual declaration after the registration year has ended (from August) – not during the registration year. The deadline for submitting your annual declaration is 30 November.

If you import or manufacture chemicals under the exempted category, you may also need to submit a post-introduction declaration.

Example

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Joe would like to import bottles of a multi-purpose cleaning product to sell commercially through his business JJ CLEANING.

Step 1: Work out if you need to register

Joe has just started a new business importing a multi-purpose cleaning product that contains 10 ingredients. He reads the 'What is registration and who must register' page and knows that he must register his business with us (AICIS).

Step 2: Register your business

Joe determines the registration level that applies for his business. He then signs up to AICIS Business Services, where he registers his business and pays the registration fee and charge. He doesn’t need to register his products or chemicals.

Step 3: Categorise each chemical introduction – is it ‘listed’?

Joe goes to our Inventory search page. He enters the CAS number or CAS name for each of the 10 chemical ingredients in his product into the Inventory search field. The search results show that 9 ingredients are listed on the Inventory with no regulatory obligations, while one ingredient is listed with a ‘defined scope of assessment’.

Joe can import the 9 chemical ingredients that are on the Inventory (with no obligations) as a ‘listed introduction’. For the chemical with a ‘defined scope of assessment’, Joe compares this with his introduction and determines that his importation of that chemical is within the parameters of the defined scope of assessment. This means that he can also import this chemical as a listed introduction. 

As each of Joe’s introductions are categorised as a listed introduction and he is registered with us, he doesn't need to send us any information about the product or the chemicals in it before importing.

He checks his reporting and record-keeping obligations and makes sure he keeps the correct records to ensure his introduction is authorised under our ‘listed’ category.

Step 4: If your introduction’s not ‘listed’ – use our guide to work out your introduction category 

Each ingredient in Joe’s product are authorised as listed introductions, so Joe can skip this step and go straight to Step 5.

Step 5: Submit an annual declaration

At the end of the registration year period (1 September – 31 August each year), Joe submits an annual declaration about all the chemicals that JJ CLEANING PTY LTD imported or manufactured during the past registration year.

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