“High costs at home and the need to come up with new or improved products and services are major challenges facing Australian business as they fight to stay competitive in overseas markets”, James Pearson, CEO of Australia’s largest network of businesses, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said today, ahead of the launch of the Australian Chamber’s Fourth National Trade Survey.
“At the same time, according to the survey, Australia’s exporters are yet to take full advantage of trade deals with a wide range of countries, relying overwhelmingly on China and heavily on New Zealand, Singapore and the United States,” Mr Pearson added.
“Australia’s role as a trade and investment partner to some of the world’s largest economies has allowed us to create jobs, wealth and opportunities for millions of Australians. The opportunity to do even better depends not only on building on these strengths, but opening up new markets.
“When we released our last report in 2016, we encouraged Australian businesses to trade with other Asian emerging or frontier markets, because they provide opportunities for growth.
“With 60% of businesses surveyed now trading in China and a rising tide of international competition, Australian exporters are worried at their ability to develop new products and services and service international markets, as well as a lack of regional connectivity.
“We can’t rely on a favourable exchange rate to lend a helping hand to Australian businesses wanting to win in the export stakes.
“To give Australians their best shot at successfully competing in international markets we must put in place policies to support Australian business to provide competitively priced goods and services.
“The report recommends that government makes it easier for Australian exporters to do business by removing red tape and unnecessary compliance costs, improving international competitiveness and providing better education, training and support services for business owners to enable them to export successfully. This last point is critical for smaller businesses, who need clear advice and support to make the most out of Australia’s trade deals.”
The Opposition spokesperson for Trade, the Honourable Jason Clare MP, will join the Australian Chamber to launch the results and discuss the findings in Sydney today.
The Australian Chamber Fourth National Trade survey was produced in partnership with the University of South Australia and is supported by the qualitative insights from over 200 Australian businesses.
The report is comparative with analysis covering the years 2013-2018.
The report can be found on the Australian Chamber website.