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Old 10-11-2013, 11:20 PM   #30
Got Wood.
Join Date: 02-07-13
Location: Sydney NSW Australia

I work for the Aussie division of a large US corporate, and whilst we do have a small premium on some of the products, it's really only enough to cover freight & a bit of handing/storage. We are still doing well because it's easier for Aussie businesses to buy locally from us, at a similar price to what they'd pay buyig direct & shipping it themselves - but the prefer to to have the hassle of that.

I'm also well-versed in the free trade agreements, tariffs & import duties - which are bugger all, and only on a very small range of products now - which is why our manufacturing industry is well & truly farked.

Our governments over the last 3 decades have progressively sold us out to the Asian nations - so many "free trade" agreements, and tariff removals, all one-sided, and none of it benefitting Australia. Unfortunately the uneducated public want high wages, but only want to pay chinese prices - and cannot see the perilous hole that creates. And they wonder why their jobs are all becoming redundant.

It has made the gap between quality products, and really cheap junk, much wider, and at the quality end, the manufacturers try to push the envelope even further.

We do have 10% GST (sales tax) but that's still no excuse for prices that are 3x what the USA pay for the same product. Our currency was higher than 1:1 with the greenback for many months in a row, and is still only sitting around US$0.95

Even allowing for shipping & warehousing, a 50% higher price from Weber would be acceptable, but not 300%.

It's not just Weber - many multi-nationals look at Australia as a land of opportunity - full of suckers who will pay through the nose for product. We have been inundated in recent years with all manner of unheard of brands & models of everything - cars, consumer goods, and even retail chains - all thinking Australia is the promised land where they can make obscene profits.

Trouble is, most non-Australian business people - my own global colleagues included, have no idea that our population is only 23 million, and we're literally all dotted around the coastline, or within only a few hours of it.
I'll never forget the look on a (US) senior marketing manager's face when he pointed to the centre of a map of Australia & asked who managed that region. We told him nobody, because there ain't nothin' there. He thought Alice Springs was a city of 5 million people....

I have often tried to buy stuff direct from the US, and been told "sorry, go to the Aussie distributor" who are 2-3x the price. Many online stores are like this too, but I have bought several items & had them shipped to friends in the US who have forwarded them on.

Larger items are a problem - shipping is very expensive - I was quoted over $250 for a box the size & weight of a Weber kettle. I have been lucky though, I'm into vintage Chevys from the 1920s, and I've recently had a mate bring out 2 cars from CA. I took advantage of the shipping to get a few bulky items sent over in the container with them - but I needed a US address to send them to first.

I have often discussed this with some of my US colleagues, and we all agree there would be a market. Problem is, a container costs around $4000 to get here, so you'd need to have a substantial amount of product, and therefore some way of shifting all that product. It's not uncommon for parellel imports to land here like that, but our government is easily swayed by the global giants who don't like it, and try to stop it - often successfully too. I'm sure Weber would launch legal action against anyone shipping in a container full of kettles or gassers.
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