Exactly three years ago, we launched the Export Council of Australia, our goal was to create an organisation that was the voice for Australia’s Exporters.
As the peak membership body for Australian exporters, we planned to focus on:
- Research: to identify and quantify the issues affecting international trade activity
- Skills Development: to build the capacity and capability of Australian companies
- Advocacy: Make representations to government on behalf of Australian exporters to break down barriers to trade
It was an ambitious target. And it was only recently, when I sat down to review what we had achieved since the launch of the ECA, that I realised just how far we had come in terms of realising these objectives.
I thought I would just take you on a very short journey of what we have been doing as an organisation to represent Australian companies.
Research and Business Tools
- AIBS: With the support of our partners, Austrade, Efic and USYD we launched the largest survey into the international behaviour of Australian exporters. As we enter the third year of Australia’s International Business Survey (AIBS) it is even more important to reflect on why your input is so valuable. In the last year alone, the ECA has been able to use data from the AIBS to help guide the ECA’s trade policy activity and inform our trade policy recommendations. Read on >
- Advancing Trade Development: A couple of years ago the Export Council of Australia (ECA) began to look at what other countries were doing to promote trade off the back of the Global Financial Crisis. Countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, and Germany and were all prioritising and investing in strategic trade development activity. Earlier this year we launched the findings of the research in our Advancing Trade Development report, which examines the international trade promotion efforts of 10 important exporting nations. Ultimately, we need to create a platform in Australia to discuss the opportunities that investment in trade promotion can offer to SMEs. Read on >
- Shanghai Free Trade Zone: As China enters a new phase of development, the ECA is proud to have launched a timely report into the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) that clarifies what it means for Australian business, together with our partners Asialink Business, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-China Council, and Austrade. The ECA has also launched an accompanying mobile app, which presents the information in a more accessible format and provides a step-by-step guide for Australian companies on how to set up in the Zone. Download APP >
- FTA Tool: The ECA, with Partners, ANZ, and content providers, Hunt & Hunt Lawyers launched our FTA Tool, a website for Australian exporters that simplifies the all of the Free Trade Agreements currently in force and signed (China). The new FTA Tool (www.ftatool.com.au) is designed to help Australian exporters navigate the basics of Australia's FTAs quickly and easily. The ECA believes that making FTAs accessible to all business, irrespective of size, is a step in the right direction.
In the next couple of months we will also be launching the following reports and apps:
- Mexico: Leveraging recent reforms and highlighting the opportunities for Australian businesses in Mexico and beyond
- Demystifying Korea: Understanding and doing business with Australia’s fourth largest partner
- Doing Business in China: an online tool to make doing business in China easier for companies to navigate
- Doing Business in Indonesia: an online tool to make doing business in Indonesia easier for food and beverage companies to navigate
Given the recent signing of Free trade agreements, the ECA believes the challenge is now on how to capitalise on these market opportunities and broaden Australia’s export base.
We need to encourage more export capable companies to actively pursue international opportunities to meet this challenge, as well as offer accessible and affordable support to assist them.
In the next couple of months, the ECA is re-focusing our educational offerings to create more value for our members, we will be doing this through the development of programs and services that focus on building the capacity and capability of companies to engage in international trade and create a clear pathway of learning for anyone engaged in International Trade.
The ECA plays an active role in advocating on behalf of Australian exporters and importers. One of the ways we do this is through our Annual Trade Policy Recommendations; next month we will be releasing our 2015/16 recommendations, which focus on 6 key themes:
- Building Infrastructure & Supply Chain Efficiencies
- Enhancing Investment
- Improving Trade Facilitation
- Advancing Trade Development
- Growing Service Exports
- Leveraging Free Trade Agreements
In addition, the ECA uses its research and direct input from members to inform the recommendations we put forward in our submissions to parliamentary and other inquiries. We have provided input which supported the entry into force of recent trade agreements, called for enhancements to the EMDG scheme, and provided insights into barriers to services exports, to name just a few.
So, as you can see the team at the ECA has been working very hard to support our members and the export community more broadly.
The ECA’s work is driven by its members and trade research is undertaken with our partners and sponsors.
The ECA welcomes any questions related to membership and our exciting new range of benefits and we strongly encourage you to join us as a business member, please click here for more information or contact us on 02 8243 7400.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any queries about the ECA and the work we are doing. I would love to hear from you!
Lisa McAuley, CEO- Export Council of Australia