SYDNEY, Australia — Amazon will grant Australians access to products from its main website, walking back a decision made earlier this year that angered its customers in the country.
The online retailer had announced that it would redirect Australians to a local website to comply with changes to Australian tax law. That law requires online retailers to impose a 10 percent goods and services tax on items sold and shipped from overseas.
But customers complained that the move would raise prices and bar them from millions of products, some difficult to find otherwise. And it appears those concerns were heard.
“As a result of customer feedback, from 22 November Amazon customers will be able to ship eligible items from amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement released early Thursday.
After its initial decision to suspend exports to Australia, the company has focused on “building the complex infrastructure needed to enable exports of low value goods to Australia and remain compliant with GST laws,” the statement added in reference to the goods and services tax.
The company’s initial decision to bar Australians from gaining access to the main Amazon site drew criticism in June from Scott Morrison, the country’s current prime minister and then-treasurer.
“You don’t get a special deal because you’re a big company or a multinational,” Mr. Morrison said when asked whether companies would be exempt from the tax. “I think it is disappointing that Amazon has taken this out on consumers in Australia — but that is their commercial position.”
Amazon launched in Australia quietly in December following months of speculation over its potential impact on the country’s retail sector. Local retailers, like neighborhood bookstores, raised concerns that the site would damage their businesses, and many welcomed the new tax on international imports, saying it would level the playing field.
The reversal comes just before retailers hold their Black Friday sales — the annual frenzy of heavy discounts, and granting Australians access to the main Amazon site will could prove a timely boon for the company’s efforts to draw local customers.
Analysts have predicted the retail giant will capture almost half of the American e-commerce market this year.
But even with access to the Amazon’s main site, Australians will face some roadblocks. Third-party sellers on the site are still unable to ship to Australia, which was “bloody frustrating,” one customer complained on Twitter.
Amazon will “continue to work constructively with the government,” to ensure “a level playing field for all retailers and marketplaces,” the Amazon spokeswoman said.