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Public policy ruling 1997/1

  Austrade Rulings

$200,000 overseas representation expenses capping issue


This ruling clarifies Austrade’s Policy position for those cases where an overseas representative incurs expenses on the following activities and where the $200,000 overseas representation capping is an issue:

  • fares, communications costs

  • trade fair activities

  • provision of advertising material and promotional literature

Such expenses may be claimed at either item 1 or at other items within the section 33 table.


Expenses at item 1 are capped at $200,000.

Item 1 of the section 33 table includes expenses incurred by the applicant in:

(a)   maintaining the overseas representative; and

(b)   meeting the expenses incurred by the overseas representative in soliciting business for the applicant.

This ruling defines the type of expenses which are to be assessed in categories (a) and (b) of this item 1, those which are to be assessed elsewhere in the table and those which are ineligible.

The July 1997 administrative guidelines state that the general eligibility principle is that expenses of participating in trade fairs and the provision of advertising material/promotional literature will be assessed at item 1 if the overseas representative incurs the expenses in the first place.

This ruling amends that particular guideline.


Item 1 (a) of the section 33 table includes in-house expenses such as salaries and fees. It includes rent and motor vehicle costs.

Item 1 (b) of the section 33 table includes fares and travel costs for the overseas representative and staff, communications costs for the representative, market research and consultants.

Where the expenses are paid by the overseas representative to an independent third party and are for the applicant’s participation in a trade fair or for the applicant’s provision of advertising material or promotional literature, you may elect to claim them either at item 1(b) or at item (5) of the table.

Where the representative is also a distributor, Austrade may assess any expenses of trade fairs and the provision of advertising material or promotional literature incurred by the representative to be item 1(b) type expenses on the basis that the activity is that of the representative rather than the applicant.

Applicants cannot claim expenses of an item 1(b) type at items 2 and 3 of the table (marketing visits and communications respectively  ) where they relate to the expenses and activities of an overseas representative. Conversely, Austrade will not include within item 1(b) those expenses incurred by the representative which were made on the applicant’s behalf such as paying for fares for the applicant’s Australian-based staff during overseas visits.

Austrade will not allow under item 1 any expenses which are not for soliciting business. Examples of such expenses are patent expenses (also ineligible because of section 41) and designing and selecting export packaging.

Austrade will also ensure that only genuine overseas representation expenses will be allowed in item 1. Where an applicant’s expenses are incurred through an overseas representative and are not expenses eligible elsewhere in the section 33 table, Austrade may apply section 96 to adjust eligible expenses. It is not the intention of the legislation to allow expenses in item 1 where those expenses would ordinarily be expected to be incurred in Australia. 


© Australian Trade Commission