Importing Windows from China to Australia – 6 Things You Need to Know


A man measuring a window frame to import windows from china to australia
Windows are a popular building product to import from China to Australia. Windows make up a considerable part of a building’s construction cost, especially in commercial buildings, so buying windows directly from China can provide big savings. However, importing goods from China, particularly windows, can be accompanied with problems if you don’t use a reputable manufacturer or you aren’t aware of potential hidden costs.

Here are some points you should consider before you place an order for any Chinese window products.

#1 Anti-Dumping Duty

In 2010, Australia’s largest aluminium extrusions manufacturer requested an investigation by the Australian Anti-Dumping Commission into Chinese exports of the product. They designed the Commission to protect Australian businesses from exporters who produce a product and sell it into a market at a lower rate than the price charged in the country of manufacturer. The Commission had found the aluminium metals industry in Australia suffered and is at further risk so they imposed a dumping tax, that can be as high as 120% of the product’s value. The tax duty is only charged when the aluminium extrusions components are imported. Once the extrusions are made into complete windows, the product no longer attracts a higher rate of tax. You can read more about the Anti-Dumping Duty here

#2 Shipping Economics

Importing window parts separately since the introduction of the anti-dumping duty isn't economically viable, however importing completed windows can also raise the cost of transportation. A shipping container might hold several hundred parts of a window, but the same size container might only hold 100 manufactured windows and their packaging. The increased cost of shipping per unit can make the cost of importing windows astronomical. 

For very large windows you also need to consider the size of the shipping container door. The windows may be a fraction too big for loading onto your booked container. The costs can explode if you have to find a container big enough to take the windows.      

#3 Quality Concerns

Some building products coming into Australia don’t meet the country’s strict building regulations. Make sure you only use a reputable Chinese manufacturer who supplies goods that meet Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia. Before ordering, confirm the windows meet the requirements of AS 2047. Check the windows after they arrive, so you aren’t liable for importing a building product that doesn’t comply with safety standards. Because of their weight and material, windows are dangerous if they don’t meet the standards. For more information, see the Australian Glass and Window Association Guide

Problems with imported windows have been ongoing for many years. The CFMEU called on the Australian government to ensure all of its buildings use good quality building materials after 20 windows fell out of the newly constructed ASIO building in Canberra in 2012.  

#4 Window Dimensions Might Be Out

Again, the manufacturer you choose for your windows will determine the quality of the finished product. Some builders have learned the hard way that the window dimensions provided aren’t always accurate. Once the hole for the window has been prepared in a building, it’s difficult to fit an under or oversized window. It’s safest to wait until the windows have arrived on-site before preparing the building. 

Whether you import window parts or the whole manufactured window, do your research carefully. There are pros and cons of both alternatives. If you get it wrong, you could be up for high shipping costs or excessive duty. If you don’t choose your manufacturer carefully, you might ship the windows to Australia only to find they don’t meet the Australian code. Importers are responsible for any sub-standard products they bring into Australia. 

#5 Don’t Make the Order Too Difficult

If you are importing from China many different window sizes, glass types and frame colours, it may be wise to separate the order so that like products are kept to each order. When the order gets complicated, communication breakdowns and errors are more likely to occur. There isn’t much you can do with a window that isn’t the right size or uses the wrong glass. If you’re importing goods into Australia, be mindful of how complicated you make the order. Keep instructions clear and succinct.  

#6 Know How to Import from China to Australia

Many owner-builders in Australia want to slash their construction budget by importing from China. Once they see the cost of using an Australian supplier, they are determined to import the windows. But it’s not as simple as placing an order with the manufacturer down the road. This is when using a sourcing agent will be beneficial. 

Learn What You Don’t Know

It takes time to learn everything you need to know to reduce the risks associated with importing from China. Do you research thoroughly before you make your first order otherwise a bad experience will no doubt make it your last.   

Use An Agent if You’re Worried

It can be a nerve wracking few months for owner-builders waiting on their house materials to arrive. The best way to alleviate some of the stress is to use an experienced import agent. Using an agent with reputable Chinese manufacturing contacts in the industry provides peace of mind. You can place the order with the agent knowing your order is far more likely to be delivered error-free.

Contact Vara Allied 

Vara Allied can organise an obligation free quote from one of the Chinese factories we have a long-standing relationship with. We also have many years experience shipping goods from China to Australia so we take away the headache of the paperwork. Call Vara Allied on (08) 6115 0118  or contact us online.