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Some regulatory changes from 23 November – see what's changed for categorisation and record-keeping obligations

Foreign companies and chemical data providers

Information to help foreign companies interested in selling their chemicals and products in Australia

If you’re a foreign company wanting to export industrial chemicals — or products that release industrial chemicals — to Australia to sell commercially, you may meet our definition of an ‘introducer’ and need to register with us. All introducers must register their business with us regardless of the volume of the chemical. We do not register products — we regulate discrete chemicals (including polymers and UVCBs).

Learn more about how we define an industrial chemical

Registration if you are exporting directly to Australia 

If you export directly to Australia (that is, without using an importing agent), you are the introducer. As the introducer, you must register your business with us (and pay any relevant fees and charges) before any chemical is exported. To register with us as a foreign company, you’ll need to provide us with an Australian Registered Business Number (ARBN). To find out more about ARBNs and how to apply for one, please visit the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website. We will deal with you directly about the introduction of your chemicals. You are also responsible for meeting compliance and reporting requirements under our laws, including in relation to the categorisation of your chemical introduction. If you’re unable to obtain an ARBN, you will need to use an Australian agent or distributor.

Registration if you use an Australian agent or distributor to import your chemical

If you have a business arrangement with an Australian agent/distributor, they are the introducer (as importer of the chemical) and you are the chemical data provider. Chemical data providers do not need to register with us as introducers, but do need to have an account with AICIS Business Services.

The Australian agent/distributor, as the introducer, must register their business with us and pay the relevant fees and charges. We deal directly with them about the introduction of your chemical(s). They are responsible for meeting compliance and reporting obligations under our laws.

Note: we may contact you in situations where you’ve withheld certain details about the chemical from your Australian agent/distributor to protect your commercial interests. If we need some of this information from you, you can give it to us directly. For example, we may ask you for this information if we are doing an assessment or need some information for compliance reasons.

Learn more about the role of a chemical data provider

How to categorise your chemical introduction

Under our laws, each industrial chemical that you want to introduce has to be authorised under one of the 5 categories below. Regulatory treatment will vary depending on your introduction's level of risk to human health and the environment.

If you are exporting directly as an introducer, you need to categorise the introduction. If you are using an Australian agent or distributor, they need to categorise the introduction. As explained above, if you use the latter option, you could be a chemical data provider and may need to provide information about your chemical so it can be can be categorised by your Australian agent/distributor. If you consider some of the information commercially sensitive, there are options to provide the information directly to us. How this is done depends on the introduction category and is explained elsewhere on this site.

There are 5 categories available for introducing an industrial chemical in Australia. The Health Minister can also authorise chemical introductions under exceptional circumstances. 

Tip: Step-by-step guide on how to categorise your introduction

The following information is a summary of categorisation of industrial chemicals in Australia. For more detailed information, please refer to our categorisation guide with supporting self-guided decision tools. The guide walks you through what you need to check and in what order you need to do it.

Is your chemical listed on our Inventory?

A chemical introduction that is categorised as ‘listed’ means it is on our Inventory and already available for industrial use in Australia. As well as being registered, your business or your Australian agent/distributor must meet any terms of the listing for that chemical.

Searching our Inventory is your first step. You can do this by entering the chemical’s Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number or name into the chemical database search field on our home page.

If you’re having trouble getting a result for something, see I can’t find my chemical on the Inventory.

Introducers also need to keep records about the chemical and its use and submit an annual declaration.

If you can’t meet the terms of the listing, you have other options available. See our guidance on what your Inventory search results will show.

If you're sure the chemical introduction is not listed on the Inventory, you'll need to work out whether it’s authorised under any of the following categories.


A chemical introduction that is categorised as ‘exempted’ means we consider it to be very low risk to human health and the environment. You can introduce such chemicals without telling us beforehand, as long as you or your Australian agent/distributor is registered with us and the chemical introduction has been categorised appropriately.

You'll also need to:

  • keep records about the chemical and its use
  • submit an annual declaration
  • for some types of chemicals, you must submit a once-off exempted introduction declaration


A chemical introduction that is categorised as ‘reported’ means we consider it to be low risk to human health and the environment. You (or your Australian agent/distributor) must submit a once-off report before introducing the chemical. If you are using an Australian agent/distributor, you may need to provide information to support the report as the chemical data provider. This is done online in AICIS Business Services — you can sign up for an account for free. 

You'll also need to:

  • keep records about the chemical and its use
  • submit an annual declaration

If your chemical is categorised appropriately as a reported introduction and you are relying on an international assessment report that we accept, you can also apply for protection of your confidential business information.


A chemical introduction that is categorised as ‘assessed’ means we consider it to be medium to high risk to human health and the environment. We must assess these introductions and issue an assessment certificate before the chemical (or product containing or releasing the chemical) can be exported, imported or manufactured. Fees apply for these applications and must be paid before we start the assessment. 

Applying for an assessment certificate as a foreign company

If you apply with directly with us for an assessment:

  • you can do so with or without an ARBN — you don’t need to provide this until you need to register your business to start your introduction
  • later, if we issue you with a certificate, you have the option to then apply to add any Australian agent/distributor to be covered by the certificate. This means they can introduce the chemical in Australia provided they meet the terms of the assessment certificate. They still need to register and pay the fee and meet all compliance obligations. 

If your Australian agent/distributor applies, they may need to nominate you as the chemical data provider in their application. As a chemical data provider, you can apply for certain information to be protected as confidential business information

In summary, if we issue you an assessment certificate for your introduction:

  • your chemical will be listed on our Inventory after 5 years (or earlier if you apply for an early listing)
  • we will publish information on our website about your chemical (as an assessment or evaluation statement)

All introducers mentioned in an assessment certificate, whether certificate holders or persons covered by the certificate, must keep records about the chemical and its use and submit an annual declaration.

Commercial evaluation authorisations

Under this category, an introducer can apply for a time-limited commercial evaluation authorisation to test the chemical’s commercial viability in Australia.

You'll also need to:

  • keep records about the chemical and its use
  • submit an annual declaration

Learn about applying for a commercial evaluation authorisation

Reporting and record-keeping requirements

This is a very important part of our scheme. Every introduction category has different reporting and record-keeping requirements. Regardless of the category, introducers must submit an annual declaration at the end of every registration year. This is a declaration about the industrial chemicals you introduced in the previous registration year and confirms their proper authorisation under our laws.

Learn more about Australian compliance, reporting and record-keeping obligations

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