Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017

Call to action for government to break down barriers to trade

By Export Council of Australia · March 26, 2014

The Australian Government must invest more resources in trade support to overcome the barriers faced in international markets across both advanced and developing economies, as well as addressing the barriers that negatively impact on Australia’s international competitiveness says the Export Council of Australia.

In the most comprehensive investigation into Australian international business in more than 15 years, the Australia's International Business Survey captured data from more than 1600 exporting businesses nationwide. The survey highlights the major issues facing exporters and provides a strong case for Government action on trade support and domestic deregulation.

The research shows that more than half of Australian exporters (59%) state a lack of information on local culture, business practice, and language are all major barriers, while a further (49%) claim they need to know more about local regulation, and a staggering (45%) admit they struggle to obtain payments from international counterparts.

The top ten markets that companies are currently doing business with are an even split between advanced and developing economies, with the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand in the top five. Interestingly, advanced economies make up six of the top 10 countries nominated as future target markets.  When asked to rank countries that are the most difficult to do business with, the United States came in third, further highlighting the need for ongoing support across all economies.

Chief Operations Officer for the Export Council of Australia Lisa McAuley says there is no question that ongoing research is vital to informed decision making on trade policy in Australia.  We’ve identified the challenges faced by the exporting community and urge the Government to make the necessary changes required to promote the growth of Australian exports."

“The Export Council of Australia wants to see more in-market assistance, particularly in the markets identified as having the highest barriers.   We also call for greater access to market information and continuing support for programs such as TradeStart and EMDG, which provide vital services to SME businesses,” Ms McAuley said.

While the most significant factor affecting International competiveness has been identified as the high Australian dollar there is still a strong requirement to break down domestic barriers to trade in order to improve Australian businesses ability to compete globally.

"International competitiveness begins at home and therefore trade considerations must be central to Australia's economic policy setting," Ms McAuley said.

 When asked to rank the importance, 63% of respondent’s stated transport/ freight costs, followed by 47% labour productivity, 40% domestic regulatory compliance, and 31% access to finance as factors hindering international competitiveness.

“Overall respondent’s earmarked 81 countries they would like to target in the future and results show China at the forefront with 19%, closely followed by the United States 15%, India 6% and the United Kingdom and Indonesia at 5%.”

“Despite some of the challenges identified by exporters, the Export Council of Australia is pleased by the level of optimism from exporters, with 74% of respondents indicating plans to expand into two or more markets over the next two years,” Ms McAuley said.

For interviews or a summary of the report please contact Richelle Ward │Export Council of Australia │richelleward@export.org.au or 0414 290 526.

About the survey A lack of research on international trade activity in Australia was identified by the Export Council of Australia and supporting partners Austrade and EFIC. Together they are working in conjunction with the University of Sydney to undertake annual research for a minimum of three years.

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