Australia’s cabinet has approved the controversial move, as it considers the countrys largest electronics retailer to close its doors amid a crackdown on sales of US-made laptops.
The decision to scrap the Australian import license was announced in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, with Industry Minister James Paterson describing the move as “the best-case scenario” and saying it would allow for a “safe and orderly transition”.
“The decision is the best-cases scenario, the most responsible way to handle this situation,” Paterson told reporters.
“It will protect Australian exporters from harm and we will protect their intellectual property.”
The move will give Australian companies a chance to sell products to overseas customers without the risk of a government-backed import license, a move that the government says will benefit consumers and businesses.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the move was a “win-win” for the country and the industry.
“The export of technology to the US is essential to Australia’s future,” Turnbull said in a statement.
“The decision will also help our industry to remain competitive and attract new investment.”
Australia’s Prime Minister says the move is a “wonderful” solution for the industry “to continue to export technology to US consumers.”
“The Australian government will continue to work with the US government to ensure a safe, orderly transition for Australian exponents,” he said.
The Cabinet meeting approved a range of measures that will allow exporters to continue to import products, including import limits on laptops, TVs, printers and mobile phones.
A range of other measures, including banning importation of new products that are not currently in Australia and introducing an import quota system, were also approved, including restricting the import of products that contain hazardous substances and biotechnologies, as well as prohibiting importation from certain countries.
The government will then consider whether the exporters should be granted a permit to export.
It’s a decision that is being seen as the final nail in the coffin for the Australian tech industry.
The Australian Retailers Association, which represents many of Australia’s largest retail companies, called for the Government to revoke the import license.
“Our industry is in desperate need of support,” the ARA said in its statement.
The government has been struggling with the loss of business to the United States in recent years, with the number of US exporters falling to its lowest level in decades.
The move comes amid a rise in concerns about the security of computer equipment being sold in Australia.
Earlier this month, a cyber attack on a major retailer was blamed on a US-based hacking group.
The Department of Trade and Industry said that more than 100 US firms had been caught selling products that were not classified as computer equipment, a number that had tripled since 2015.