On behalf of all of us at the ECA may I wish you a Happy New Year and a very Happy Chinese New Year. May the Year of the Rooster bring you Health, Wealth, Happiness and Success! In the next month, the ECA will be launching our 2017 Trade Policy recommendations. Given the current global trade environment, the ECA will focus on four key important messages:
1. Australian jobs are best created and protected over the long term through an open and competitive economic system. Further, increasing our international trade and investment opportunities will be crucial to unlocking our country’s future economic potential.
2. As Australian firms enjoy more overseas opportunities than ever before, the challenge for Australia is to maximise the benefits gained and to reinforce our competitive position.
3. To meet this challenge, Australia must encourage more trade and investment- capable companies to engage with the global opportunity.
4. Realising the benefits of increasing trade is the shared responsibility of government, businesses involved in import and export, and the services businesses which support them. Building this "trade ecosystem" requires investment and representation from all parties.
As the voice for small and medium sized enterprises involved in global trade, we recognise how important SME’s are in producing and supplying new products and services to the global market.
Given the capacity of SMEs to drive economic development and job creation, as well as their ability to drive innovation, continuing to assist SME’s to expand through global trade will be the ECA's number on priority this year.
However, we do understand that navigating the complexity of doing business globally and maintaining a competitive edge requires up-to-date skills and knowledge.
SMEs and individuals engaged in global trade need to develop the management skills to enable them to access necessary information and contacts, as well as the legal and commercial intelligence to navigate regulatory regimes in global markets.
The availability of quality skills development programs and I believe the importance of international certification is key to assisting SMEs access global opportunities. Watch this space for an exciting development later this year.
Specific training and education can increase the ability to respond to changing conditions in export markets, and to remain competitive.
Should you wish to find out more about any of our new plans for education programs this year, please feel free to contact my colleague Collins Rex who is heading up the Skills Development team at the ECA this year and would be delighted to talk to you.
Finally, please let us all work together this year to remain positive for the future and for SME's in general.
With kind regards