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Business opportunities abound

Blockchain: Key to the future for global trade?

Australian Trusted Trader opens for business

AIBS 2016 Export survey results revealed

pages 10-11

pages 20-21

pages 34-35

Boom in service exports pages 38-40

International Business Today spring 2016


Increasing trade and investment to drive jobs and growth

2-4 Export House Level 2, 22 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000 Toll free: 1300 361 526 Phone: 02 8243 7400 Fax: 02 9251 6492

CEO’s report 5


Publisher & National Marketing Manager Julie Fletcher Editor Tim Michael Production Veronica Avant IT Manager Rob Fearn Printed by: Newstyle All rights reserved © 2016 No part of this work covered by the publisher’s copyright may be reproduced in any form by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval, without the written permission of the publisher. Any unauthorised use of this publication will result in immediate legal proceedings. Publisher’s note: Although every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this publication, neither the publishers, authors nor their employers can be held liable for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions.

It pays to do your homework when doing business in China

Blockchain: Is this the key to the future for global trade? Now’s the time to take advantage of free trade opportunities

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business & finance

Why we must invest in skills development programs


Editor’s letter 7


Three reasons free trade has become a political football 41-43



trade facilitation 14-15 WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: What it means for exporters

digital marketing 17-19 Planning a successful digital marketing strategy

trusted trader program Australian Trusted Trader opens for business


postcard from singapore Vibrant hub for business opportunities and link to ASEAN


EXPORT AWARDS PREVIEW Recognising 54 years of international success


27-33 34-35

Business confidence remains high: latest survey results



How non-tariff barriers can impact your business Boom in service exports



‘Uber’ of international freight celebrates first anniversary

from the minister

Increasing trade and investment to drive jobs and growth By HON Steven Ciobo MP

HON Steven Ciobo is the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment


ustralia is a nation built on international trade and investment.

Opening up Australia’s economy to the world has helped to deliver 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth – a feat unequalled among developed economies. In a rapidly changing world, our future prosperity depends on how well we, as a nation, engage with the incredible growth that is occurring across our region. The Turnbull Government is seizing this opportunity through a bold and comprehensive trade agenda – creating and sustaining Australian jobs by opening new markets, growing exports, attracting new investment and increasing visitor numbers to Australia. We are committed to an early conclusion of negotiations for the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IACEPA). IA-CEPA will create the framework for a new era of closer economic engagement between our countries and open new markets and opportunities for Australian businesses, primary producers and service providers. While Indonesia is our largest neighbor, a fellow G20 member and important



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regional partner, our trade and investment relationship can and should be much stronger. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is the other great opportunity in our region. RCEP brings together 16 countries that account for almost half of the world’s population, 31 per cent of global GDP and more than a quarter of the world’s exports. The economic rationale for RCEP is simple – nine of our 12 largest trading partners are with us in these negotiations. Bringing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) into force is another key priority for the Turnbull Government. The TPP’s 12 signatories account for 37 per cent of global GDP, and represent a substantial proportion of Australia’s trade and investment relationships. Its unprecedented scope and ambition will drive integration in the Asia-Pacific. Together, RCEP and the TPP will cement Australia’s place at the Asia-Pacific trade and investment decision-making table, enhance our influence and deliver improved access to these critical expanding markets. We will also look to our growing ties with Latin America and we will continue to pursue agreements with India, the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Pacific Island countries through the

PACER Plus agreement. We will launch a comprehensive and ambitious agreement with the European Union as soon as possible, recognising the strength of our commercial interests in the EU, and we will aim to open negotiations with the United Kingdom, at the right time.

‘It is crucial we hear the views of the Australian business community, especially our exporters’

achievable outcomes. Completing Australia’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, finalising the Environmental Goods Agreement and concluding the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) are also key objectives for the Turnbull government. TiSA brings together 50 economies accounting for more than 70 per cent of global services trade – a major game-changer for Australian services-based businesses.

HON Steven Ciobo MP

And our existing free trade agreements, including the trifecta the Coalition concluded with China, Japan and Korea – the region’s powerhouse economies – not only support Australian exporters, but are seeing Australia become an investment hub for global investors wishing to establish an export platform to tap into growing Asian markets, particularly in agriculture and food.

But it is not all about bilateral or regional negotiations. In the World Trade Organization (WTO) we will continue efforts to revitalise global trade negotiations with an agenda focused on

Tourism remains an important focus for the Turnbull Government, with our vibrant tourism sector forecast to continue its growth trajectory over the next decade. Tourism exports account

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from the minister

‘Bringing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) into force is a key priority for the Turnbull Government’ for nearly half of all services exports and reached a record $30.7 billion in the year to June 2015. In a coup for Australian tourism operators we will join China in designating 2017 Australia-China Year of Tourism. The potential impact of this endorsement on Chinese visitor numbers and tourism revenues should not be underestimated.

office or the agencies across my portfolio, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Austrade, who assist Australian companies to grow their business in international markets. Australia’s future prosperity depends on the policy decisions we make today.

It is crucial we hear the views of the Australian business community, especially our exporters.

The ongoing pursuit of trade and investment liberalisation is the formula to success that has given us our current high standard of living.

If we are to continue advancing your interests in our trade and investment negotiations, we need guidance on your commercial priorities and business challenges. I invite Australian businesses to contact my



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We must continue this pursuit so that future generations of Australians will experience the ongoing benefits of our free and prosperous way of life. ■

ceo’s report

Lisa McAuley CEO Export Council of Australia


ur official publication International Business Today has re-launched – bigger and brighter than ever.

The new-look International Business Today will be distributed in a contemporary format, four times a year, in both print and digital editions. Our expert team will provide in-depth analysis, exclusive features and unique content to keep readers up-to-date with the latest vital information on the import and export process. I’m pleased to announce Dynamic Export, a leading news and information service for Australian exporters since 2002, will now publish the magazine. New programs to help grow your business globally For the past year the ECA has been developing new education programs and courses to meet the needs of Australian exporters. Building on our 60-year history of educating Australian international businesses, we have developed informative new programs to help you to successfully take on the world. Through practical education and training, we have assisted thousands of companies to develop and grow business skills in international trade and we can do the same for you. Whether you’re just starting out on your export journey or you’re a seasoned traveller, you can follow the ECA’s pathway to international success.

Finding the pathway to international success

your step to being accredited. The Advanced Diploma is delivered online with students having the option to enhance their studies by attending one-day face to face workshops. RTO: 40853 PATHWAY 2: International Trade Courses to Develop Your International Trade Skills The ECA is Australia’s leading provider of education and training in international trade. Our short courses for exporting include: • Pricing for International Success • Getting the Documentation Right! • Managing Your International Freight Risks • Financing for Global Growth • Growing Your Business Offshore • Pitching for International Success • Supply Chain Security • Introduction to Rules Of Origin • Introduction to The Principles of Product Classification • International Trade Regulation and Compliance * NEW FOR 2017. Short courses for importing: • Pricing for Import success • Getting the import documentation right! • Managing your international freight risks for import • Import Financing for growth • Regulation and compliance for importing Navigating the complexity of doing business internationally and maintaining a competitive edge requires up-to-date skills and knowledge.

Simply choose the pathway most relevant to your business and spread your wings!

SMEs engaged in 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 international markets.

PATHWAY 1: Accredited Education and Learning: Advanced Diploma in International Business Management Delivered in partnership with Charles Sturt University, the Advanced Diploma of International Business Management is

We’re confident our programs can give you the tools needed to expand your business internationally. ■

octoBER 2016



from the chair

Why we must invest in skills development programs by Dianne Tipping


mall and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) drive economic growth, promote job creation and foster innovation in the global economy.

SMEs also play an important role in producing and supplying new products and services to the international market. Given the capacity of SMEs to drive economic development and job creation, as well as foster innovation, assisting them to expand through export is increasingly a priority for policy makers around the world. The availability of quality skills development programs is therefore key to assisting SMEs in doing business internationally. Specific training and education can increase their ability to respond to changing conditions in export markets, and to remain competitive. As globalisation continues to drive international trade growth, SMEs are best served by acknowledging the role of skills development in preparing their business for dealings in the global market. As both the Chair of the Export Council of Australia and now the Chair of IATTO (the International Association of Trade Training Organisations), education is obviously a key area of focus for me.



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Considering the current challenges facing international trade, it is important that adequate attention is given to SME capability and capacity development. This applies to SMEs in both developed and less than developing countries – as an economy advances/the technical capability of government officials/trade professionals advances, so does their need for more advanced training specific to exporting/trade with businesses from more mature markets or those participating in international value chains. Investing in skills development programs can play an important role in improving productivity and fostering sustainable economic growth. It can help reduce the risk of failure or significant setbacks by teaching critical competencies, information gathering and approaches to solving realworld concerns when conducting business internationally. As Chair of IATTO, I am very pleased to be involved in the 2016 IATTO Annual Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, US. The forum serves as the meeting ground for worldwide trade professionals to expand global knowledge in trade training programs and certification. â–


Tim Michael


elcome to the ECA’s new-look International Business Today magazine.

International Business Today will be published in a contemporary format, four times a year, in both print and digital editions. Dynamic Export is proud to be the new publisher and we look forward to keeping readers informed with the latest industry news, opportunities and trends. It’s exciting times ahead for Australian exporters. Free trade agreements are now firmly in place with three of our biggest Asian trading partners and the Government is currently negotiating more flexible agreements with other key trading nations. Combine this with a stable and more manageable Australian dollar, record low interest rates and planned company tax cuts – and you have a recipe for success. In this issue we reveal the results of the Australia’s International Business Survey 2016 which shows exporters are more optimistic about the year ahead and are planning to target new overseas markets. Our cover story focusses the Spotlight on Singapore highlighting the many trade opportunities for Australian exporters in this vibrant business hub. Chris Rees, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner for Singapore also shares some tourist tips for exporters who can find some spare

time outside of business commitments. And if you need some help in marketing your business internationally, Belinda Hay, National Manager, TradeStart Network gives four key tips on how to plan a successful digital global marketing strategy. We also reveal how the boom in service exports is helping to drive the Australian economy and how Australian exporters can benefit. Benefits can also be gained by exporters who qualify for the new Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) Program launched earlier this year. You’ll be pleased to learn that in the first six weeks of full operation, more than 300 businesses across industry have submitted expressions of interest. By 2020, ATT is expected to grow to over 1000 Trusted Traders, covering 30 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade volume. Under the new program, businesses that demonstrate compliant trade practices will be rewarded with trade facilitation benefits. We also examine the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Professor David Widdowson, CEO of the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies at Charles Sturt University, guides you through the new agreement and explains what it means for Australian exporters. And there’s a special preview of the state and territory Export Awards, culminating in the National Awards run by Austrade in Brisbane in November. ■ Enjoy the read

octoBER 2016





fter a hard day’s work, sometimes it’s easier to just phone and order a pizza – one with say, scrambled eggs and potato on top? What might sound to the average Australian as an interesting choice of topping, is actually Domino’s Pizza’s most popular product in the Chinese market. David Keir, an Australian serial entrepreneur and Vice Chairman of Dash Brands, which has master franchise rights for Domino’s Pizza in eastern and northern China, told a crowd of business people on the final day of the Australia Week in China conference that the unlikely combination of ingredients came about as a result of careful market research.



When expanding into China it pays to do your homework “It’s been very popular,” Mr Keir said. “Popular to the point it’s been copied by Pizza Hut almost in its entirety. “It’s all about listening to the

octoBER 2016

customer and, really, as a foreigner in this sort of business, getting ourselves out of the way and trying to understand the customer.” Jackie Yun, co-owner of Wagas

and Baker & Spice, two cafe chains that have been a roaring success in China, says the Chinese market has matured over the 16 years she’s been building up her business with her Danish business partner John Christensen. Consumers have become increasingly sophisticated and the business cannot impose Western tastes on their customers, according to Ms Yun. She says that early menu options like turkey and cranberry sandwiches simply didn’t gel with the local palate and had to be ditched, but menu items which bear a resemblance to more recognisable local fare have been much more successful. “The coffee we serve in Wagas and Baker & Spice – isn’t the coffee I’d like to serve because I like it stronger – say a flat white. But we’ve had to adapt our coffee standards to the Chinese market,” Ms Yun said. And what’s true for the food and beverage industry is also true for every other industry. And in the 30odd years since reform and opening-

up, when foreign businesses streamed into China, those who’ve failed to learn from cultural insights and different consumer tastes and behaviour have fallen by the wayside. But backing up any product localisation strategy has to be solid research. NAB assists businesses looking to expand into international markets. It’s Business Asia Hub

brings together information from government, industry, business and its own experts, into one easy-to-use portal. ■ Check NAB's product here:

To find out more, talk to your NAB Business Banker on 13 10 12 or visit: au/businessasia

business / Finance

Blockchain: Is this the key to the future for global trade? By Michael Eidel


lockchain has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business. Below we examine five ways how.

The technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may well revolutionise the way we do business, with new applications extending across all sectors of the economy. The future is only ever just around the corner. Technologies that are already available today have the potential to radically transform the world we live in. One such technology is blockchain, a distributed ledger technology best known as the infrastructure behind digital currency Bitcoin. For some time, CommBank’s Innovation Lab in Sydney has been at the forefront of blockchain research. What’s increasingly clear to us is that blockchain’s potential reaches well beyond the financial services sector.



In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that blockchain could revolutionise our whole economy. At the heart of blockchain’s potential is a decentralised structure that does away with the need for third-party authorisations or centralised ledgers. Instead, blockchain creates an open, shared digital record, using a peerto-peer network of participants to verify and approve every transaction, making transactions completely transparent and secure. In addition to making transactions completely transparent, it can contain a limitless amount of information, making reconciliation and execution virtually frictionless.

Michael Eidel is Executive General Manager of Cash-flow and Transaction Services at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Here are five ways it could transform the way we do business: 1 • International payments The Commonwealth Bank is a founding participant in the global R3 consortium, set up to define the standards and protocols for a broader application of distributed ledger technology. Among other things, we’ve been exploring blockchain’s potential octoBER 2016

For more information contact a CommBank Trade specialist on 1300 654 112 or visit: tradefinance

re-order the compromised goods. 4 • Ownership registries Blockchain could also simplify the transfer of ownership of any item of value, such as equities, property, cars, and businesses. Because all participants would have access to the same title information, they could instantly check that everything is above board, without wasting time going through a third party or centralised authority.

as a safe way to transfer money (or any virtual ‘value’) around the world.

processing royalty payments directly to the work’s owner.

Blockchain could help cut transaction times for international transactions from days to minutes, slashing costs and significantly reducing risk – with customers able to track each step of the transaction in real time.

3 • Global trade Extending the concept of smart contracts into the physical realm could also transform the way we trade and transport goods across borders. With a transparent, permanent record, goods could be easily recognised, verified and audited at every stage of their journey, cutting administration, eliminating fraud, and reducing the time between sending the goods and receiving payment.

2 • Smart contracts Imagine a world where the negotiation or performance of a contract can be automatically verified and executed via computer protocols, underpinned by blockchain technology. This is the world of smart contracts, where programming code could replace legal documents and clauses, integrating them into electronic commerce and payments protocols to enforce the contract’s terms. In fact, smart contracts are already being applied in copyright protection, with blockchain app Ethereum using them to identify and manage intellectual property – even

5 • Supply chains Blockchain is also likely to prove an invaluable tool for businesses whose brand depends on confirming the source of their ingredients, materials or goods. One company, Provenance is already taking advantage of blockchain technology to create an immutable record of a product’s entire lifecycle. This not only helps companies build trust with their customers, it can make the certification of goods (such as organic, free-trade or GM-free) an easier and more reliable process

For example, commodities such as pharmaceuticals that are sensitive to heat could be monitored during transport through a connected sensor that would advise if the cargo was compromised.

To stay on the right side of history, companies will need to keep a close eye on the impacts of blockchain in their own industry and beyond, experimenting with the technology and running trials with trusted partners, clients and other key stakeholders, to understand the specific opportunities and challenges it could bring.

Should this happen, the smart contract’s encoded supply chain logic could cancel various payments, as well as any transportation and warehousing arrangements. It could then invoke insurance contracts and

We’re still only beginning to grasp how blockchain will change our world. But for businesses that choose to embrace the potential of this transformative technology, great opportunities await. ■

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business / Finance

Now’s the time to take advantage of free

trade export opportunities By Craig Michie


ree Trade Agreements have helped create a more competitive landscape for Australian exporters, but are they encouraging new players into overseas markets?

Craig Michie is Head of International Finance at Scottish Pacific, the largest specialist provider of working capital solutions for SMEs in Australia and New Zealand

As well as opportunities afforded by recent deals with China, Japan and Korea, FTAs are also in place with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Chile, the US, Malaysia and ASEAN (with New Zealand). In the 2016 Australia’s International Business Survey (AIBS), conducted mainly with experienced exporters, this year’s most popular initial overseas markets were the US, China, New Zealand and UK. Geographic and cultural proximity made New Zealand popular, while the UK was popular due to strong growth and profit opportunities as well as cultural and language familiarity. Beyond these familiar markets, there’s no doubt the opportunities



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are there for businesses willing to take the initiative. How do we entice new players? Education is key: Australians are entrepreneurial, so if companies are aware of the benefits and support available to them, they will take advantage. FTAs have made life easier for all exporters including new players. Australian goods get preferential treatment in terms of reduced or eliminated tariffs, increasing the competitiveness of our products and services and making it more cost effective to export. Via Austrade’s website, businesses can register for FTA seminars providing practical information on how to make the most of the benefits to be derived from Australia’s free trade agreements. The FTAtool (, which helps exporters find their way around the agreements quickly and easily, is also a valuable resource.

The reduced risks involved in trading under FTAs create a more streamlined path through customs in destination countries. This ensures fewer complications and delays in delivering goods, significantly reducing the chance of customer disputes due to late delivery. Reduced dispute risk means a lower risk of non-payment, which improves cash flow. Funding opportunities for new exporters Having the working capital required to trade overseas is another potential barrier for would-be exporters, but funding is increasingly easier to source with

specialist providers such as Scottish Pacific having a clear appetite. A reputable trade finance provider can offer exporters funding against completed sales to overseas customers, open account terms (making it easier for customers to buy from you) and the flexibility to raise invoices in currencies including Australian, NZ and US dollars in more than 20 approved countries. The Federal Government’s export credit agency, Efic, also provides facilities and supports exporters with guarantees for ventures which may not be approved due to a lack of security.

‘FTAs have made life easier for all exporters including new players’ The Export Market Development Grants scheme, a financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters, is administered by Austrade and supports a variety of industry sectors and products. •

So really small business owners, what are you waiting for to make export opportunities a reality?

trade facilitation

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

What it means for Australian exporters By Professor David Widdowson

Professor David Widdowson is CEO of the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies at Charles Sturt University. He is also President of the International Network of Customs Universities and Editor-inChief of the World Customs Journal


ince 2007, Australia’s Centre for Customs and Excise Studies (CCES) has been working closely with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to develop and refine the WTO Trade Facilitation SelfAssessment Guide. The Guide has been used by some 100 developing and least developed countries to assess their trade facilitation needs and priorities which has enabled them to participate more effectively in the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations. In December 2013, these negotiations resulted in a significant multilateral agreement relating to the facilitation of international trade. In essence, the Trade Facilitation



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Agreement (TFA) seeks to expedite the cross-border movement goods and reduce the cost of trade through the introduction of simplified and more efficient regulatory procedures. The scope of the TFA is quite broad, addressing issues such as public access to information, stakeholder consultation, predictability and impartiality of decision making, rights of appeal, transparency, administrative fairness, inter-agency and international cooperation, and contemporary approaches to compliance management. Notably, it also includes arrangements for developing and least developed countries to identify those aspects of the Agreement for which technical assistance and capacity building support is required prior to their implementation. Many of the principles contained in the TFA originate from the various

‘The international trading community appears to be cautiously optimistic about the TFA’ Conventions, standards and guidelines of the World Customs Organization (WCO) which have been in place for several years. Importantly, however, the TFA will be legally binding on WTO member countries. Consequently, once the TFA enters into force, a country’s failure to meet its WTO obligations may be legally challenged through the organisation’s dispute resolution arrangements, while under the ‘soft’ law of the WCO, a member country is effectively able to abrogate its international commitments without any fear of retribution. The availability of such formal procedures to review the lawfulness of a trade policy or practice provides for legally-based dispute resolution as opposed to ‘diplomatic’ negotiation, which importantly injects a higher degree of predictability into the process.

What it means for Australia Australian exporters, along with other members of the international trading community, appear to be cautiously optimistic about the TFA, as it has the potential to provide greater certainty and clarity in their dealings with customs authorities and other border agencies, both nationally and internationally. Clearly there are advantages in improving the regulatory conditions in Australia’s export markets. In terms of national improvements, however, it could be argued that the regulatory environment that currently exists in Australia (and other developed countries for that matter) already provides a high level of facilitation for international traders. Relatively speaking this is true. Nevertheless, the TFA requires each member country to establish octoBER 2016

a committee or similar mechanism to facilitate national coordination and implementation of the TFA provisions. Such a requirement implies a critical review of the country’s current performance against the TFA principles, and the development and implementation of strategies to maximise its performance. In other words, it is not intended to be merely a tickbox exercise against the various provisions (advance rulings, single window, pre-arrival processing, etc.). Australia has already established a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), which is chaired by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The purpose of the NCTF as reflected in its Terms of Reference is to “fulfil the obligations required by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TODAY


trade facilitation

Trade Facilitation by providing the forum to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Facilitation”. As such, the NCTF has a critical role to play in ensuring that Australia meets its international obligations under the TFA, and the Committee’s effectiveness will undoubtedly be assessed on its

ability to influence a meaningful trade facilitation agenda that reflects the needs and aspirations of Australia’s international trading community. Status In order for the TFA to enter into force, two-thirds of the WTO’s 164 members are required to complete their domestic ratification process.

At the time of writing, 90 member countries had completed this process, leaving a requirement for an additional 20 ratifications. Australia accepted the Protocol in June last year, making it one of the first countries to lend its support to the initiative. ■


Belinda Hay is National Manager, TradeStart Network and Austrade’s Project lead for e-commerce

Planning a successful digital global marketing strategy By Belinda Hay


aving a website to deliver basic information about your company and product or service offering used to be all customers wanted or needed – both in Australia and overseas. octoBER 2016

Then came translation websites for various languages, which was also sufficient at the time. Over the past 10 years however, there's been an ever increasing pace of change in online marketing which has made the world smaller, and our customers INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TODAY



‘Providing detailed information is an important step in the sales cycle’ overseas closer than ever. Herein lies the need to commit some time and investment to an international digital marketing strategy. Having a website and digital marketing strategy for your business in Australia is a good start as this can be used as a solid base for your international strategy. While your local online presence can help bring enquiries and new customers from around the world, there is a big difference between customers stumbling across your website and specifically targeting customers from new markets overseas. Here are a few tips to start development of your international digital marketing strategy: 1. Have a professional website and get ready to deliver information overload Even if you don't intend to sell from your own website, it’s an invaluable way to help potential customers feel more comfortable with your products



and services. Providing detailed information is an important step in the sales cycle. Whether a sale is made offline, on your own website or from an online sales platform, a large proportion of customers research online from a range of sites including online reviews. Buyers in many parts of the world, particularly Asia, are accustomed to having far more information about a product or service before they buy than we are used to in Australia. A contact in Japan used the following example to highlight this point – a product sold online in Australia has one image and one short sentence to describe it. The same item sold in Japan has three or four images from different angles, more photos of the packaging and the results from using the product. It also has a video of how to clean the item and a significant amount of text on how to use the different settings. octoBER 2016

2. Know who is interested in your brand and where they are Data is your new best friend when it comes to understanding who is interested in your brand overseas. It is not uncommon for the percentage of visits to your site from overseas to be quite high. Analysing data can help you select markets to proactively target, or if you sell from your website and don't have corresponding proportion of sales to these markets, it can be a start to understanding why conversion rates aren't higher from overseas visitors. 3. Adapt your website for each international market you plan to proactively target This means not only translating the words but also the design of your pages including fonts, colours and images. Many Australian website designs lean towards a minimalist look and extensive use of white space.


This is contrasted by some markets in Asia where pages may seem busy and distracting to us with far more colour and imagery than our domestic sites. 4. Research which social media apps are used and how If you haven't heard of WeChat, Weibo and LINE and you are targeting Asia then get to it! Online shopping, social media and messaging services are becoming more interconnected. So when researching apps used overseas make sure you fully understand how they are used. Some may be categorised as a messaging service but now have functionality to make quick online purchases from links in messages. The big message here is research which apps are used in your target markets and find someone

experienced to help you use them – in the local language if needed. This article notes some tips for a digital marketing strategy. For those considering selling online then there are a range of other factors to consider as well. The web brings our customers from around the world closer to us, which can have an enormous positive impact. It can also present some unwanted surprises for exporters and their customers so a little planning and digital marketing knowledge together with the usual export preparations is a good investment of time and energy. ■

octoBER 2016

‘It is not uncommon for the percentage of visits to your site from overseas to be quite high’



trusted trader program

australian trusted trader

To register your interest or to find out more about Australian Trusted Trader, visit: www. trustedtrader

opens for business

‘ATT program recognised as a global benchmark’

O chain.

n July 1 this year the Australian Border Force (ABF) voluntary trade facilitation initiative, Australian Trusted Trader (ATT), opened to all Australian businesses active in the international supply

In the first six weeks of full operation, more than 300 businesses across industry have submitted expressions of interest. By 2020 ATT is expected to grow to over 1000 Trusted Traders, covering 30 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade volume.



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ATT is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program. Worldwide, over 70 countries have implemented an AEO/ATT program to standardise legitimate trade facilitation by securing international supply chains through using the World Customs Organization’s Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE framework). There are currently over 40,000 businesses globally accredited to their country’s respective AEO programs that benefit from streamlined trade facilitation. ATT is recognised as a global benchmark for AEO programs. It is currently the only AEO program that

trusted trader program

includes all businesses that are involved in international trade – import, export and services – that secure their supply chain, but also rewards them with trade facilitation benefits for demonstrating compliant trade practices. ATT supports partnership between government and businesses that are recognised and trusted as highly secure and low risk enterprises.

Benefits include: ) A dedicated Account Manager ) Priority trade services ) Differentiated examinations ) Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) (on completion and implementation) ) Use of the Australian Trusted Trader logo ) A range of future benefits.

This partnership allows the ABF to focus on high risk consignments and businesses that are more likely to be non-compliant. This program creates a fundamental change for legitimate trade flows across our border: the Trusted Traders who we know and trust, and the unknown entities who potentially pose a higher risk. The introduction of the two track trade flow system will be enhanced by customs to customs MRAs that enable government border agencies to recognise and accept each other’s audits, controls and authorisation, and remove the regulatory burden faced by businesses engaging with foreign markets. For Australian Trusted Traders it will mean they will receive preferential border treatment and trade facilitation benefits when conducting trade between MRA partner countries. Last July Australia’s first MRA was signed with New Zealand. This provides trusted Trans-Tasman exporters with fast-tracked customs processing. Members of the ATT program and the New Zealand Customs Service Secure Export Scheme will benefit from the arrangement which is anticipated to allow up to 13 per cent of New Zealand

import volume to Australia – totalling $3 billion – to be facilitated, along with $7.5 billion of Australian exports by 2020. Statements of Intent to develop MRAs have also been signed with a number of our top trading partners, including the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Canada. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has also reaffirmed AEO cooperation with China by signing the latest version of the Strategic Partnership Program. The Department continues to pursue interest in MRAs with other trading partners. To be eligible for the program, businesses must have an Australian Business Number, two years of trading history and be financially solvent. Trusted Traders also have the opportunity to work with government to influence the design and implementation of future benefits, including:

) Enhanced cross-agency collaboration with other border agencies ) Labour mobility and trade in services ) Secure trade lanes that will allow partner customs administrations to share electronic information on cargo, reducing reporting requirements for traders.

octoBER 2016



postcard from singapore

Chris Rees is Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner for Singapore

Contact Austrade on 13 28 78 or au to learn more about business opportunities in Singapore.

Vibrant hub for business opportunities

and link to ASEAN By Chris Rees


ransforming itself from a fishing and trading port into one of the world’s leading cities, Singapore is now a S$402 trillion ($A390 trillion) economy.

With a population of 5.5 million people on a mere 714 square kilometres, Singapore is home to over 7,000 multinational corporations – 4,000 of which manage their Asia-Pacific operations from their regional headquarters in Singapore. Singapore has also become a significant wealth management hub, with assets under management in 2014 totalling S$2.4 trillion (A$2.3 trillion), recording about 30 per cent yearon year growth.



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postcard from singapore Australia’s relationship with Singapore is strong. Australia was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with the fledgling republic 51 years ago and the bilateral relationship with Singapore is one of Australia’s closest and most comprehensive in Southeast Asia. Singapore is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN and our fifth largest trading partner overall. In 2014-15, Australian merchandise exports to Singapore were A$8.3 billion (seventh largest export market) and imports from Singapore were A$10.8 billion (seventh largest market). Bilateral trade relationship Service exports, such as technical, business and professional services and transport, play a key part of our bilateral trade, with exports to Singapore valued at A$3.75 billion and imports at A$5.57 billion in 2014-15. That a nation as tiny as Singapore could be such a major trading partner is testament to both the strategic role Singapore plays in regional business and the importance of the business relationship. There are 6,418 Australian exporters active in Singapore, and it is home to some 3,500 Australian-linked firms, which has resulted in a large and vibrant Australian business community. Australia’s investment in Singapore in 2014 was A$50.7 billion, up from A$39.6 billion in 2013. A large number of Australian businesses have a presence in Singapore including Australia’s major banks; mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto; engineering design and construction firms including Lend Lease Asia

Holdings and Leighton Pty Ltd; and logistics groups such as Toll Holdings. Singapore’s investment in Australia is also significant. It is ranked fifth overall as a source of foreign investment in Australia totaling A$80.2 billion in 2014, up from A$68.4 in 2013. In fact, there are more Singaporeans living in Australia than in any other overseas country – with Perth said to be home to the most Singaporeans outside of Singapore. In recent times, the relationship has become even closer building on the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) which came into force in 2003. SAFTA was also the first free trade agreement Australia implemented since the Australia New

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Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) concluded 20 years earlier. Enhancing trade and investment links Last year, our two countries concluded a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) agreement. The agreement sets out a long term plan to leverage the synergies and complementary natures of the two countries to take advantage of both future opportunities and future challenges. It is also a ten-year roadmap of specific measures to enhance cooperation across foreign affairs and security, defence, economic and people-to-people spheres. In May this year, the agreement was further strengthened, with an



postcard from singapore

emphasis on defence cooperation; stronger economic relations; an increased commitment to partnering for growth in the region; and a memorandum of understanding focussed on innovation. This last element will see closer cooperation between our key research institutes, a platform for Australian start-ups to enter the Singaporean market and beyond, as well as increased cooperative research; made possible because of one of our longest standing free trade agreements. Both governments are also finding other ways to stimulate further commerce between our countries. In June, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed an Innovation Functions



Co-operation Agreement which aims to help innovative businesses in Australia and Singapore in their foray to the respective markets. The agreement will enable innovative fintech companies in Australia and Singapore to engage in discussions more quickly and receive advice on required licences, reducing regulatory uncertainty and time. ASIC and MAS have also committed to exploring joint innovation projects together, and to share information on emerging market trends and their impact on regulation. Future outlook The opportunities for Australian business in Singapore are many and varied.

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As Australia’s second largest business services market, many professional services firms are not only active here but also use Singapore as a base for their South East Asian activities. Many global firms are also developing global value chains in areas as diverse as medical technology, aerospace, oil and gas, electronics, food manufacturing and automotive. Singapore’s strategic location, expertise as a logistics hub, highly skilled workforce and proximity to both low cost manufacturing centres and growing markets makes it uniquely positioned to succeed in this area. â–

postcard from singapore

Places to visit in the famous Garden City By Chris Rees


here should you go if you have spare time? Singapore is a cosmopolitan city state and although small in size, there’s much to do and see. From the zoo in the north, Sentosa in the south, Bird Park in the west to Pulau Ubin located in the east of the city. In between, there is Chinatown, Little India, the Malay Heritage Centre and the Arab Quarter, amongst many other places of interests depending on how much free time you have in Singapore. If museums are of interest, Singapore has three main museums with the National

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Singapore may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it boasts a plethora of exciting attractions for tourists. The Garden City is home to eclectic budget shops as well as international luxury brands. It also offers incredible street food, fine dining and exciting nightlife. Chris Rees, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Singapore shares some travel tips for International Business Today readers …



postcard from singapore

Museum considered a must. It is the city’s oldest museum and home to national treasures dating from the 10th and 14th centuries. The National Gallery Singapore, a new visual arts institution and oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, and Peranakan Museum, which showcases Chinese and Malay practices, food, art and clothes, are also worth a look. Other options include smaller museums like the Fort Siloso Surrender Chambers, Trick Eye Museum and Mint Museum of Toys. However, if you only have a few hours to spare, Singapore’s Changi Terminal offers plenty of food and shopping options, or relax visiting the airport’s famed themed gardens. Otherwise you can consider the Heritage Tour or the City Sights Tour. What is one of the city’s unique offerings? Singapore’s Orchard Road is a must-visit shopping belt offering international luxury brands, stylish home-grown labels and trendy high-street fashion collections. You



can also visit the iconic Marina Bay Sands, an integrated resort home to luxury retailers and offering stunning accommodation with matching views. A short walk away there are numerous shopping malls to visit. Where do you suggest taking clients out? Singapore has an incredibly diverse range of dining options offering cuisine for every taste and budget. Besides cuisine from the country’s diverse cultures, Malay, Indian, Chinese and Eurasian, there is international cuisine from Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Korea to name a few. If fine dining is more your preference, Singapore has a vibrant fine dining scene featuring many celebrity chef owned restaurants by Tetsuya, Luke Mangan and Jamie Oliver to name a few. Singapore’s famous cuisine chilli crab, is found everywhere from fine dining to al-fresco restaurants. Similarly, Singapore’s famous chicken rice is served in hotel cafés to local food courts and restaurants around the entire island state.

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Suggestions for nightlife and unwinding? Some say Singapore does not sleep. There are numerous parties to choose from and will cater to preferences of all individuals. The nightlife is a dizzy whirl of music, drink and entertainment with limitless choices from dancing, to the beats of world-class DJs at megaclubs, to enjoying a drink at a cocktail bar. Roof top bars and upmarket bars like 1-Altitude Rooftop Cocktail Bar and City Space, annexed to Equinox, a fine dining restaurant to the clubs, are favourites. Any other advice for visitors on business? While Singapore is regarded as a very safe country day or night, there may be some incidence of pickpocketing and or theft, so exercising the same care and alertness for any overseas trip is suggested. Traffic is relatively smooth after the peak hours in morning (8 to 10 am) and evening hours (5 to 7 pm), so consider this when planning meetings. ■


Recognising 54 years of

international success


nown for their ingenuity and innovation, many Australian businesses have become global leaders for the products and services they provide. The Australian Export Awards (AEA) and affiliated state and territory awards programs have been celebrating these achievements for over 50 years.

For more information on the 2016 Australian Export Awards visit: www.exportawards.

Co-presented by Austrade, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CPA Australia, the AEA recognise the contribution of Australia’s top exporters to Australia’s economic prosperity. Introduced in 1963, the AEA were launched to promote ‘export consciousness throughout Australia’. Fast-forward 54 years and new generations of Australian businesses are now ‘born global’, with exporting a significant part of their DNA. Past AEA winners come from across Australia, representing both city and rural areas, and range

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EXPORT AWARDS SPECIAL PREVIEW from family-owned businesses to large listed companies. This has included some of Australia’s iconic businesses such as Speedo, Lonely Planet and The Wiggles, all of whom have grown to become globally recognised in their respective fields. The AEA continues to unearth a range of exceptional businesses during the nomination process and last year was no different. Alt.vfx, a visual effects company which specialises in CG animation, is one recent example. Alt.vfx derives 50 per cent of its revenue from international business activities and was the winner of the 2015 AEA Creative Industries Award.



Colin Renshaw, Supervisor and Cofounder of Alt.vfx, said: “People are reaching out to us because suddenly we are on the map, they are always interested in working with companies who are the best at what they do.” The 74 AEA national finalists for 2015 generated nearly A$2 billion in export sales in 2014-15 and employed more than 16,500 people. These companies demonstrated the breadth of Australia’s exporting capabilities across a range of traditional and non-traditional exporting sectors. Exceptional businesses who have won an Australian Export Award in the same national category three times are also inducted into the Australian Export Awards Hall of Fame.


Established in 2002, there are currently 10 companies inducted into the Hall of Fame, having commenced with three inaugural recipients: Constellation Wines Australia (previously known as BRL Hardy Wine Company), Clough Engineering and the University of NSW. The inaugural recipients of this prestigious award have been joined by Casella Wines (2005), Ausenco (2007), Rio Tinto Iron Ore (2007), Cochlear Limited (2008), BridgeClimb, Sydney (2008), Russell Mineral Equipment (2009) and Laservision (2012). The 2016 Australian Export Awards will be held in Brisbane in November. ■


Australia’s international high achievers will soon be revealed


By Richelle Ward

he National Export Awards program hosted its first presentation ceremony in 1963 with states and territories sustaining the program ever since. The longevity of the program reflects the prestigious nature of the awards and with the total value of exports for 2014-15 contributing $318 billion to the economy, acknowledging businesses involved in international trade makes sense. Export Award applications from across Australia have been pouring in over the past few months.

For the full list of 2016 Premier of NSW Export Awards and QLD Export Award finalists visit: https://exportcouncil.

It happens around the same time every year with innovative and robust business strategies lining up in front of leading business executives that form each state and territory judging panel. With 12 industry categories that constantly update to reflect industry trends, the companies that enter this program continue to push the boundaries in each sector. octoBER 2016

We’re experiencing change too. While Australia is well known for being “clean and green” we are punching well above our weight in business services and other out-of-the-box business ideas. From visual effects to the manufacturing of electric skateboards today’s businesses are thinking outside the square. Did you know that in children’s television, one in every four characters on screen is female, although 90 per cent of dialogue is spoken by male characters? This year we have the first female writers and producers for the US program Sesame Street competing in a state program. Move over Miss Piggy, our girls are up for the challenge. At the Export Council of Australia (ECA) we understand the importance of recognising those involved in international business. It’s the key reason we currently manage three of the state programs – two of them gaining the highest number of entries. While the program experiences peak INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TODAY



State and territory winners will meet to celebrate the best of the best! It’s a fantastic event – like the State of Origin and National Championships rolled into one. The QLD Export Awards will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday October 20.

and troughs like all recognition programs, we’ve witnessed a steady flow of hearty business owners taking on the world – and winning! Why it’s important Success can be measured in many ways. It is important to be recognised in an environment that encourages you to do better, offers to build on your success, and is thankful for the demanding and rigorous work that plagues the everyday of business owners. Winning an award places your business in front of the Who’s Who of the international business world and introduces you to trade commissioners from all around the world – and they want to know how they can help you. The ECA is fortunate enough to work with applicants across NSW, Queensland and Western Australia – and we love it. By managing these programs we build relationships with the backbone of the export community.



We hear first-hand about how they enter new markets, forge international HR strategies, and mitigate risk in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language. Méimén, I hear you say. That’s NO WAY in Chinese. Just recently a beef producer emailed from his hospital bed. He explained he hasn’t been well but was determined to complete an application. Every day he checked in to say he had completed another question. The days he didn’t make contact “weren’t great days” for him, he explained. Like so many exporters he was passionate about his company and his product. He knew the importance of being recognised by his peers and the benefits of boasting the government crest when building relationships offshore. I wish him well and his company every success. All roads lead to the Australian Export Awards to be held in Brisbane on November 24.

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The Premier’s NSW Export Awards will be held at The Star, Pyrmont on Wednesday, October 26 and the WA Export Awards will be held at The Crown, Burswood on Friday, October 28. Queensland has really impressed in recent years winning more categories The aim of the program is three fold: ) To recognise Australian exporters for their commitment to our economy ) Build on current strategies and successes to improve capacity and capability ) Build relationships within a community that now has more opportunity than ever before.

than its competitors. With our recent aggressive trade agenda and high number of FTAs in place the Australian business culture is changing – we’re thinking big and we’re thinking offshore. It’s a fantastic time to be in business and we look forward to celebrating with international traders for many


Meet two award winners flying the Australian flag high for women exporters By tim michael


ynn Yeh and Dee-Ann Prather Today Homart Group owns a 15,000sqm both admit the road to GMP manufacturing site, producing more international success is not easy than 500 SKUs of Australian Made health – but the rewards can be great. supplements, skincare and dairy products.

As previous winners of the NSW Women in International Business Award they are well aware of the challenges facing women trying to break into international markets. Ms Yeh is the founder and CEO of Homart Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in the marketing and manufacturing of Australian health supplements and personal care products.

Established in 1992 the company continues to grow rapidly and now employs more than 100 people in Australia, with an increase in sales of 25%-30% each year. Exports account for 50 percent of total sales making it a truly export-oriented Australian company. Ms Yeh says winning the International Business Award provided positive

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EXPORT AWARDS SPECIAL PREVIEW recognition of Homart Group’s success. Australian women involved in international business still face gender issues in many countries, she says. “For example, to exhibit in Middle Eastern countries, women still need to be accompanied by male colleagues to overcome safety issues.

) Use smart promotion to suit the culture and take advantage of local big events ) Develop e-commerce marketing ) Collaborate with Austrade and other government agencies involved in international business ) Attend major exhibitions in the target

“And women’s social status and opportunity is still much lower than men’s in some countries.” As well as gender issues each country’s import legalisation limitation and Intellectual Property issues can also provide challenges for women exporters. But despite these challenges Ms Yeh encourages more women to grow their businesses in overseas markets to assist in increasing sales and revenue. “For example, China has a market with a population of 1.3 billion, which is more than 42 times of the Australian market of 24 million.” Exporting can also increase brand awareness, with the potential to become an international brand. And every country has its own economic fluctuations, so to do business internationally helps to have an active market and disperse risk, says Ms Yeh. Her advice for Australian businesswomen looking to expand their business overseas:

) Use your company’s unique strengths to develop a multi-stage long term export strategy ) Carefully localise products to suit different markets ) Clearly position your products in an international market (e.g. as 100% Australian made or natural and organic).



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markets to promote your products and gain local market information.

Ms Yeh encourages more women to apply for Export Awards. “Women play an increasingly more important part in business nowadays, I would like to see more and more women participating in ‘Australia the NSW Export offers unique opportunities Awards and help their to share with contribute talents to society,” the world’ she says.

- Dee-Ann Prather

And Dee-Ann Prather agrees. “It is an honour to be recognised in the NSW Export Awards and it has been an excellent marketing tool,” Ms Prather says. “I have also had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, (applicants, ECA and politicians) throughout the application and awards process.” Ms Prather is the founder and CEO of Down Under Enterprises, a company providing 100% pure Australian essential oils across the Americas and around the world. With revenue of more than $5m a year and operations in the US and Australia, Down Under Enterprises has grown to become a leader in its field. In the past decade the business has broadened global market awareness of the benefits of Australian essential oils and native ingredients.


Global success ... Dee-Ann Prather and Lynn Yeh Ms Prather says the key to her business success has been to never compromise on quality. “I strongly believe in providing customer service beyond the expected, and hiring excellent staff with a good sense of humour. “On an international level, being prepared to make phone calls from 5am, traveling internationally (as needed and as frequently as possible) and promptly responding to customer emails have all been critical to my success. “After 15 years, I’m still loving what I do.” Ms Prather says there are many opportunities for Australian businesswomen in overseas markets. “Australia offers unique opportunities to share with the world – native essential oils and ingredients

are just one,” she says. “As a country, Australia is known as ‘green, clean and natural.’ This ‘brand identity’ results in a very positive and desirous position. “Although Australia is geographically isolated, technology is increasingly allowing Australians to connect with the world and deliver our products into the global market faster and more efficiently than ever before.” When looking to markets overseas, women should take the time to explore the market extensively before going ahead, Ms Prather advises. “Understand the country, the culture, the demand, the logistics, and the competitors. These are all factors with which the Export Council of Australia can assist.

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‘Women’s social status and opportunity is still much lower than men’s in some countries’ - Lynn Yeh “We spent two years visiting China and meeting with industry stakeholders. This time was well spent, and necessary, in analysing the market and our approach before entering the market. Even with this plan, we still made mistakes. The key is to recognise these quickly, adapt, and keep moving forward.” ■



aibs 2016

Business confidence

remains high despite global headwinds By Mark Thirlwell


ustralia’s International Business Survey (AIBS) is one of Australia’s largest and most in-depth surveys of internationally active Australian businesses.

Supported by Austrade, the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), the first survey was released in 2014 and now the third in the series has been launched.

Mark Thirlwell is Austrade’s Chief Economist. He is one of Australia’s leading commentators on the international economy

Capturing the responses of 913 companies drawn from 19 sectors and operating across more than 100 international markets, AIBS 2016 builds on the work of its two predecessors to further deepen our understanding of how Australian firms engage with international economy. While the survey covers a wide range of businesses in terms of size, sector and experience it is particularly good at capturing the views of internationally experienced small and medium-sized enterprises: about 90 per cent of respondents have fewer than 200 employees while 63 per cent have been earning international revenues for at least a decade. Consistent with previous editions of AIBS, our results show that our survey respondents are involved in a wide range of cross-border commercial activities. Not surprisingly, trade was the most important of these, with 96 per cent of participants involved in exporting and 54 per cent in importing. Only 22 per cent of our respondents are ‘pure’ exporters: the rest are involved in some mix of exporting, importing, inward or outward investment, crossborder collaboration in research and development, participation in global value chains or other cross-border activities. Reassuringly, and despite what have been quite challenging global conditions for cross-border commerce, our respondents continue to be relatively optimistic



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‘Our respondents continue to be relatively optimistic’

) 67 per cent of exporters believe the outlook for their business is better this year compared to 2015 ) 78 per cent of exporters surveyed are planning to trade in additional overseas markets over the next two years ) The most popular initial overseas markets for AIBS 2016 participants were, in descending order, the US, China, New Zealand and the UK. ) 59% of respondents found it harder to source debt finance for international business opportunities than for domestic opportunities ) 32% of exporters surveyed were unsuccessful in obtaining additional finance ) Of those, 58% cited inadequate security and 17% inadequate cash flow.

about the outlook for their international operations, with 67 per cent saying this was either better or much better compared to 2015 and only eight per cent saying it was worse. In addition, 78 per cent of respondents said they were planning to do business in new overseas markets over the next two years, with more than half targeting three or more countries. The most popular choices for these expansion plans were China, the United States, India, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.

For those interested in learning more, this year’s survey results are presented in much greater depth in our Highlights Report as well as in the main survey report. There are also country, sector and state-based analyses available, covering eight major markets and eight industry sectors. All of this material can be accessed from the websites of the supporting organisations. ■

) Ninety-three per cent of respondents have a company website, though only 47 per cent currently make use of e-commerce ) The two risks to international operations identified by respondents were high domestic costs in Australia and the possibility of adverse exchange rate movements. ) Respondents felt that reputation (dependability, reliability, honesty and trustworthiness) is critical when exporting. ) 64% said a strong brand is very important.

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How non-tariff barriers can

impact your business By Stacey Mills-Smith

‘NTBs are an increasingly important issue – particularly for the food sector’


ustralian businesses’ ability to gain and to benefit from market access opportunities, particularly those created through FTAs, depends increasingly on compliance with non-tariff barriers (NTBs). With tariff barriers generally in decline around the world the focus must now shift to addressing NTBs, which can significantly increase the cost of doing business internationally. As noted by the 2014 B20 Australia Trade Taskforce, NTBs can have a much greater negative impact on GDP growth than tariff barriers. NTBs are measures applied by countries, other than tariffs, which can restrict imports. Two of the main types of NTBs are Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures. These include import, inspection,



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certification, audit and testing requirements relating to food safety, and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) measures, which include requirements such as labelling, registration, product composition, testing and quality assurance (beyond SPS). Internationally, SPS and TBT measures are governed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreements on TBT (TBT Agreement) and the Application of SPS measures (SPS Agreement). Within the WTO there are committees that allow member countries to discuss specific trade concerns and the implementation of the TBT and SPS Agreements. While some NTBs serve legitimate public policy objectives, such as environmental protection and consumer safety, others are introduced in an attempt to restrict imports. The WTO SPS and TBT Agreements seek to ensure that technical measures, including regulations, standards and testing requirements, introduced by member countries are based on scientific

on an on going basis.

‘Broadly speaking, protectionist measures are on the rise’

information and/or international standards, are non-discriminatory and don’t unnecessarily inhibit trade.

$190 million a year in China alone and that NTBs across all countries cost the industry $1.5 billion a year.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult and indeed at times impossible to determine legitimate NTBs from protectionist NTBs.

Broadly speaking, protectionist measures are on the rise despite consistent calls by the WTO, B20 and others to bring them to a standstill and roll back existing protectionist measures, especially NTBs.

What is clear is that NTBs are an increasingly important issue, particularly for the food sector. In the agrifood sector, for example, the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s International Trade Report on NTBs facing Australia’s agri-food exports identifies that NTBs have been increasing over the past decade in the following ways: • Growth markets, particularly in Asia, have been increasing the range, level, sophistication and coordination of NTBs. • For established markets, particularly in Europe and North America, there has been an observed push to entrench their domestic approaches to food regulation and standards into international trade. Dairy Australia reported that technical barriers cost the industry

The WTO reports that between mid-October 2015 and mid-May 2016, G20 economies introduced new protectionist trade measures at the quickest pace since the 2008 financial crisis – almost 21 new measures a month. In the same period, G20 economies implemented 100 measures aimed at facilitating trade, averaging just over 14 per month. In order to tackle these issues on a government-to-government level the Export Council of Australia (ECA) believes companies need to be informed and proactive in reporting TBT and SPS measures they are encountering. From a policy perspective, it is important that a coordinated, strategic approach is taken to addressing NTBs

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What action can you take? The ECA has an online form on its website that allows companies to report technical barriers they are facing in export markets.

Relevant complaints are then filtered through to the relevant area within government. For more information visit: report-your-export-barriers Businesses facing technical barriers can also contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources directly through their designated email addresses: or How you can stay informed Businesses can sign up to receive notifications on changes to TBT and SPS measures specific to their export markets and/or products by subscribing to the free online web service, ePing ( ePing provides businesses and governments with up to date information on regulations in export markets, including product requirements and standards. UNCTAD also recently launched the largest global database on Non-Tariff Measures, ‘TRAINS’ ( This is designed to increase transparency and understanding about regulations and trade control measures. It covers 56 countries accounting for 80 per cent of world trade and the database contains more than thirty-eight thousand measures. ■




Megan Motto is Chief Executive of Consult Australia a leading notfor-profit association representing the business interests of about 48,000 consulting firms across the country.

Boom in service exports to drive

Australian economy By Megan Motto


n the 1950s Australia was riding on the back of the sheep, 50 years later it was all about commodities, such as coal and iron ore.

However, there is a new opportunity to drive the economy and ensure that Australia reaps the benefits. So what does the future look like for Australia? The true powerhouse of Australia is without doubt the services sector.



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This sector alone employs over 80 per cent of Australian’s and accounts for almost three quarters of our GDP. Combine this with advancing economies such as China and India looking for expertise as their economies enter a new phase, and this provides an unparalleled opportunity for Australia professional service firms. In 2014-15, total Australian exports were over $300 billion and service exports grew 9.4 per cent to over $60

BOOM IN SERVICE EXPORTS billion, accounting for almost 20 per cent of total exports. If the Federal Government is looking to help our transitioning economy, they need look no further than the Australian services sector. Chief among the growing services sector is the professional service firms, such as legal, accounting, IT and engineering firms. However, when talking about exports, and service exports in particular, it’s important for Government to realise that exporting professional services is vastly different from exporting goods. It is a much more complex transaction than simply shipping off a product to a foreign market. Exporting intellect is complex. At the heart of any transaction in professional services is the relationship. Professional services firms are built on relationships and their reputation. It is key to any successful business transaction. Yet without appropriate support from Government, the professional services export market won’t be able to flourish and realise its full potential. It is vital that Government help support businesses to build these relationships and realise that often the strongest relationships take time to develop. It requires a longer term view and a longer term approach from the Government to ensure that the Australian professional services sector can flourish in the global marketplace. Australia harvests an army of

talented professionals who are champing at the bit to bring their expertise and experience to the rest of the world. The double edge sword of exporting services is a fantastic opportunity to take our skills to the rest of the world, while boosting economic prosperity here in Australia. However, in addition to the many opportunities, there are also complex barriers that must be overcome. Government should be assisting local professional service firms over the long term to ensure transactions are made as seamless as possible for Australian business.

‘Fantastic opportunity to take our skills to the rest of the world’ ‘The true powerhouse of Australia is without doubt the services sector’

Reducing regulatory and unnecessary requirements on businesses in Australia can help to ensure that Australian business and professional services can compete of the global stage. While internationally it is generally accepted that Australia is a relatively easy place to do business, this isn’t always the case with our export partners. Many countries that want to utilise our professional services have very complex regulatory arrangements that can be difficult, costly and time consuming to navigate. This is where Government can and should play a role. The establishment of free trade agreements ensuring a seamless transition of people and a focus on helping Australian firms engage with new markets are encouraging, but this must continue well into the future.

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‘Professional services is a truly global market place’

However, despite figures showing a sluggish economy, stubbornly high unemployment and stagnant business and consumer confidence, it is imperative that the government not resort to protectionism and look at new ways to grow the economy. It was the economic reforms of the 1980s and ‘90s that have undoubtedly led to decades of economic growth in Australia that we experience today. In today’s truly global market place there is no such thing as ‘Australian Jobs’, this goes against the philosophy of trade and economic growth.

A longer term focus must be at the forefront of any Government policy if we truly want to reap the economic rewards that are on offer. What has become abundantly clear over the last decade is that professional services is a truly global market place, and this will only increase further with the economies of Asia in particular continuing with strong growth and ambitious expansion policies. Further, Governments need to acknowledge and address the rhetoric from some sectors pushing



Australia back to the protectionist era of last century and embrace a truly global marketplace. Business is rightly concerned with the recent trend in Australia to fall into the ‘protectionist’ frame of mind. This has become increasingly evident with local firms in Australia faced with ‘buy local’ provisions in procurement contracts. I can understand why politicians who are looking out for their short term interests, namely to be reelected, might start to veer towards protectionist policies. octoBER 2016

We, as not just businesses but also as consumers, need to break down the rhetoric of protectionism and ensure that Australian professional service firms can take advantage of worldwide markets, while ensuring the economic prosperity for all Australians. A longer term view must start to take shape now, if professional services are to be the next power house of the Australian economy. I’m confident that with the expertise and intellectual property that Australia produces, service exports are undoubtedly the next boom for our economy. ■


Tim Harcourt is the J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics, UNSW.

This opinion piece was first published in The Conversation.

Three reasons free trade has become a political football By tim harcourt

‘No wonder people get suspicious’ - Tim Harcourt


urveying democratic election results around the world, it’s clear the high water mark for globalisation has been met. Free trade, always questionable economics, is no longer good politics and in many ways has jumped the shark. We’ve seen Trump on the

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populist right (or wherever Trump is as he has his own political pendulum), and Bernie Sanders on the left turning US trade politics upside down. Both helped drive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to reverse her position on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Ironically, the Republican Party, known as the Grand Old Party (GOP), was originally northern and protectionist, and the southern




based Democratic Party pro free trade. Now Trump on the right and Sanders on the left have made protectionism popular again. Brexit in the UK and other populist forces across Europe have sprung largely from an anti-globalisation and anti-immigration platform. In the Asia-Pacific we’ve seen Rodrigo Duterte elected in the Philippines and nationalist impulses on the rise everywhere from Indonesia to Peru. In Australia, we’ve seen the rise of the Nick Xenophon Team, with Xenophon himself questioning the benefits of free trade. And with the revival of Pauline Hanson (who questions both Asian immigration and trade with Asia), and a fractured Senate, there’s likely to



be more negative messages on free trade. The Australian economy can survive a split parliament – the fears that it will harm business confidence are largely exaggerated. But the presence of Pauline Hanson in the Senate (with her rhetoric of “Australia is being swamped with Asians”) is far more dangerous given our strong trade, investment and education links with Asia. What is it that has allowed the Donald Trumps, Nigel Farages and Pauline Hansons of this world to thrive politically? Three reasons driving anti-trade sentiment The first reason has been the rise of inequality in developed

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economies. The failure of US real wages to keep up with productivity growth, while the top 1% of US society gets richer (including Trump himself), explains the anger in the US. And instead of blaming labour market deregulation, it is easier to blame immigrants from Mexico and Asia, or the Federal Reserve. Ironically, if labour markets had been strengthened and workers’ rights and wages supported, free trade might have built a bigger constituency. The second has been the failure of global economic institutions to adapt to changes in the global economy. We’ve seen the EU overextend


Nick Xenophon … questioning benefits of free trade

to the brink of collapse, the WTO dead as a Doha, the IMF and World Bank in a transatlantic straight jacket despite the rise of Asia and the emerging economies. Instead of forging truly open trade agreements, we’ve tried to protect corporate rights alone via the TPP and its forerunner the Multilateral agreement on Investment (MAI). If global institutions can’t even aim to have a level playing field then no wonder large parts of the constituency retreats into isolationism and protectionism. And finally, it’s the political salesmanship of free trade. If the politicians who promote free trade deals are also advocating the abolition of penalty rates in the labour market, opposing minimum wage rises and attacking public

health and public education, no wonder people get suspicious. And if they are also goading the car industry to leave the country, that doesn’t help either. I have always thought you can make a progressive case for trade, as exporters on average pay higher wages, provide better occupational health and safety standards, more job security and equal employment opportunity, on average than nonexporters. Support for an open economy should go hand in hand with support for improved labour standards. After all, in all economies, developed or emerging, you want wages to rise with improved productivity as you open your economy to trade and investment.

octoBER 2016

The major parties of the centre have some work to do to tackle these protectionist threats from the populist left and right. A first step is to decouple support for free trade from support for labour market deregulation (whatever that means in practice) and make a pro-worker and pro-environment case for an open economy. And at the same time tackle the racist elements of the populist politicians (and their “swamping with Asians” anecdotes). But that’s another story. ■






nline freight marketplace, CargoHound, has received an overwhelming response since it launched last year, with over 900 importers and exporters now using the service to “sniff out” the best international freight rates.

The brainchild of freight industry veteran Ms Kim Mauch, CargoHound was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as the “Uber” of international freight – disrupting one of the oldest industries in the world. It connects importers and exporters with “community rated” freight forwarders thereby reducing the time, cost and risk of shipping products internationally. CargoHound CEO and co-founder, Ian Smith, said the success of



octoBER 2016

FREIGHT the company’s start-up phase had provided a solid platform for expansion. “CargoHound has received extremely positive support from SME importers and exporters across the board as it allows them to compare the market on price, service and transit time thereby reducing the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of international freight,” Smith said. “We regularly hear of members saving up to 50% on freight costs but more importantly they are matched with reliable service providers who are kept ‘in line’ by our rating system.”

CargoHound’s major milestones include: • More than 2000 freight quote requests have now been lodged on the platform to which 6,500 responses have been received; • The sum of the average quote value received on jobs to date is close to $4.5 million; • CargoHound won the national Super New Startup category at the 2015 Cool Company Awards, out of 700 entrants.

have used the platform to book international freight would use the platform again which bodes well for the continued success of the Hound into the next year and beyond.

For more information and to register for FREE go to www. or call 1300 883 243.

In a recent survey of CargoHound members 100% of respondents who

Register for FREE at

international calendar national Business SA Business SA Export Awards 5 October 2016 Adelaide, South Australia

Electric Power and Renewable Energy Myanmar 2016 13 to 15 October 2016 Yangon, Myanmar Mining, Electric and Oil & Gas

Mining Myanmar 2016 13 to 15 October 2016 Yangon, Myanmar Mining, Electric and Oil & Gas

Electric Power & Renewable Energy Myanmar 2016 13 to 15 October 2016 Yangon, Myanmar Electric, Power, Security & Renewable Energy

Building and Construction Myanmar 2016 13 to 15 October 2016 Yangon, Myanmar Building & Construction

Autumn Shows by Gulfood 7 to 9 November 2016 Dubai UAE Food, Wine & Hospitality



Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources 2016 Governor of Victoria Export Awards 6 October 2016 Melbourne, Victoria FHC China 7 to 9 November 2016 Shanghai, China Food, Wine & Hospitality

ProWine China 7 to 9 November 2016 Shanghai, China Food, Wine & Hospitality

CommuniCast Myanmar 2016 15 to 17 November 2016 Yangon, Myanmar Information Technology & Broadcasting

Manufacturing Indonesia 2016 30 Nov – 3 Dec 2016 Jakarta, Indonesia Manufacturing

octoBER 2016

Export Council of Australia Exporting to India mentoring 7 October 2016 Sydney, NSW

Department of State Growth Tasmanian Export Awards 2016 7 October 2016 Hobart, Tasmania

Export Council of Australia Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards ceremony 20 October 2016 Brisbane, Qld

Canberra Business Chamber ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards 2016

TRADE MISSIONS 20 October 2016 Canberra, ACT New Zealand Infrastructure, Building and Construction mission 18-21 October, 2016 Auckland, New Zealand Building & Construction Infrastructure

Export Council of Australia Premier’s NSW Export Awards Presentation dinner 26 October 2016 Sydney, NSW

Export Council of Australia 2016 Western Australian Industry and Export Awards Presentation Evening 28 October, 2016 Perth, Western Australia

Export Council of Australia Exporting to China mentoring 28 October, 2016 Sydney, NSW

Export Council of Australia Developing your export strategy mentoring 4 November, 2016 Sydney, NSW

Export Council of Australia Upskilling your team for export success mentoring 25 November, 2016 Sydney, NSW

New Zealand Infrastructure, Building and Construction mission 18-21 October, 2016 Auckland, New Zealand Building & Construction Infrastructure

Building Capacity in Panama’s Mining Sector 19-21 October, 2016 Panama City, Panama Mining & Resources

Aged Care and Healthcare Forum and Expo 2016 10-13 November, 2016 Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China Health & Medical

Explore Philippine Mine Safety and Environment

octoBER 2016

2016 14-18 November, 2016 Baguio, Philippines Mining & Resources

Cosmoprof North Asia Trade Mission 2016 14 to 25 November, 2016 Various locations: Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo Consumer Goods, Cosmetics

Australian cybersecurity mission to India 2016 21 to 24 November, 2016 Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai- India Information & Communications Technology

Australia-Japan Aged Care & Well-Being Mission 2016 23-25 November, 2016 Chuo-ku Kobe (Port Island), Japan Health & Medical




Want to learn more about

importing and exporting? ECA Courses and Publications For more information and to register visit:

Online courses

October 11 Financing for Global Growth (Sydney)

Mexico: Gateway to the Americas Online Course $88

India Online Cultural Intelligence Course $88

China Online Cultural Intelligence Course $88

Trading in RMB with China $88 Workshops

October 6 Pricing Your Product or Service for International Success (Melbourne)



November 2 Growing Your Business Offshore (Melbourne) November 7 Pitching for International Success (Perth) November 9 Import Procedures and Documentation (Melbourne) December 6 Supply Chain Security (Sydney) December 7 Supply Chain Security (Melbourne)

October 12 Getting the Documentation Right (Canberra)

October 13 Financing for Global Growth (Melbourne)

October 20 Getting the Documentation Right (Perth)

October 20 Pitching for International Success (Brisbane)

November 1 Growing Your Business Offshore (Sydney)

octoBER 2016

Publications Australian Export Handbook 21st Edition $137.50 Australian Import Handbook 1st Edition $104.50 International Trade Procedures $55 Advancing Trade Development: A Study into International Trade $55

Join as a member of the ECA to receive discounted rates on ECA courses and publications Business members receive 20% off Individual members receive 10% off

Profile for Think Positive Pty Ltd

International Business Today e-magazine Oct 2016  

International Business Today is the leading e-magazine in Australia for companies engaged in International Business.

International Business Today e-magazine Oct 2016  

International Business Today is the leading e-magazine in Australia for companies engaged in International Business.


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