Every exporter’s global journey needs some help along the way, whether it’s information, finance, or advice. Fortunately, there are a number of avenues of assistance.
Australian Institute of Export (AIEx)
Established in 1957, the Australian Institute of Export is a national member-based, not for profit association, with a mission to increase the trade skills of all Australian companies. AIEx also manages seven TradeStart offices in NSW and Victoria, with the goal of encouraging new companies to export. The AIEx is a registered training organisation that delivers invaluable information and training programs on the practical aspects of exporting for existing and start-up businesses. The organisation works with industry specialists, who provide the latest information on all facets of successful exporting, including Australia’s leading text on the process of export, the Australian Export Handbook. There are also courses on Importing, and Trade Law and IP. The AIEx encompasses the Export Consultant’s Group (ECG), comprising 100 experienced consultants nationally, who work to an Austrade Code of Practice in the preparation of EMDG claims. By becoming an AIEx member, a business can have its views represented to industry and government, and gain discounts on courses, events, and access benefits (including a free subscription to Dynamic Export). Visit the AIEx at www.export.org.au or call 1300 361 526. -Peter Mace, general manager at the AIEx
AusIndustry’s key export program is Tradex, a scheme that allows a business to gain an upfront exemption from customs duty and GST on eligible imported goods that are intended for export. "Tradex is one of the few programs where individuals can apply, right through to large companies. They should apply for Tradex before they import the goods. If they miss out, there’s always the Customs Drawback Scheme, a post-export claim, whereas Tradex is an upfront duty exemption," says David Price, Tradex product manager. "Once they’ve registered with us for the nominated goods, provided the details stay the same, they don’t need to contact us again. It’s designed to give benefits to customers in terms of their cash flow." Price also notes that other AusIndustry programs, such as the R&D tax concession, may be of assistance to exporters, although not specifically designed for international trade: "If they’re producing innovative items that they can sell overseas, then obviously they can access the R&D tax concession on their way through." Visit AusIndustry at www.ausindustry.gov.au or call 13 28 46.
State Government support
State governments offer a range of services and advice for new and existing businesses, from conducting missions and organising trade shows to running seminars and workshops to assist with more specific aspects of export. For more information, refer to your state or territory trade department. ACT: Visit www.business.act.gov.au > ‘Doing Business in Canberra’ > ‘Export Assistance’ or call 1800 244 650. NSW: Visit www.export.nsw.gov.au or call (02) 9338 6600. NT: Visit www.tradesupport.nt.gov.au or call (08) 8946 9550. QLD: Visit www.export.qld.gov.au or call 1300 363 711. SA: Visit www.southaustralia.biz > ‘Exporting from SA’ or call (08) 8303 2400. TAS: Visit www.development.tas.gov.au/export or call 1800 440 026. VIC: Visit export.business.vic.gov.au or call 13 22 15. WA: Visit wa.gov.au > ‘WA Trade & Export’ or call (08) 9222 0555.
Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)
Austrade's fundamental charter is about helping Australians do business internationally. We service clients from first-time exporters through to experienced exporters. Austrade offers a range of services, from practical advice and market intelligence, to the opportunity to build expertise, and capability in getting ready to export: export planning, developing an export strategy, as well as looking as looking at issues such as market entry. We work very closely with state government trade departments. In some cases they deliver services on behalf of Austrade through the TradeStart program, which is a network of 50 offices around Australia that deliver export coaching, advice and guidance. The Getting into Export program is worth mentioning. It's for businesses that are new, or with limited experience with exporting. Basically they get access to an export coaching portal and have an export adviser allocated to them to help them progress on their export journey. We also administer the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme, a program that provides financial assistance to support the export promotion of individual businesses. The scheme is designed to encourage exporters to increase their international marketing, for example, EMDG gives these businesses the means to attend trade shows in new markets, develop intellectual property and ultimately hire new staff. Visit Austrade at www.austrade.gov.au or call 13 28 78. -Steve Rank, acting NSW/ACT state manager at Austrade
Export Finance & Insurance Corporation (EFIC)
The businesses that approach the SME team at EFIC are those with a turnover of less than $150 million; many of our customers have turnover of considerably less than this. Our Structured Trade and Project Finance team assists larger, usually publicly listed, companies. EFIC’s role is to provide finance or insurance to Australian companies that can’t get support from the commercial banks. So our clients are businesses who want to engage in export transactions or overseas expansion, but to whom the banks have said ‘no’. This can be for a range of reasons, for example, the business might not have enough assets to provide the security the bank wants, they might have a new product or service that the banks think is too untested, or they might want to export to a country for which the bank does not have any risk appetite. We don’t compete with the banks, but work closely with them. EFIC can help companies throughout their export lifecycle. For example, they might come to us when they’re entering into an export contract and need to provide a performance bond to their overseas buyer. Or they might need more working capital to expand into another overseas market or to finance a contract with a new buyer. Here, an EFIC Headway working capital guarantee might be appropriate. We may also be able to help if the business is goes one step further to establish an overseas sales or support office. The earlier EFIC is involved, the better. Exporters should approach EFIC as soon as possible when bidding for or negotiating a contract, especially if they think their bank won’t be able to help, or won’t be able to provide the full amount of support they need. Visit EFIC at www.efic.gov.au or call 1800 093 724. -Andrea Govaert, SME executive director at EFIC
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its members, the chambers of commerce and business associations around Australia, represent businesses at local, state and federal level. One of their primary trade roles is export documentation. "The chamber is one of the few organisations authorised by the government to issues certificates of origin, which are very important for overseas customs agencies," says Nathan Backhouse, ACCI director of trade and international affairs. The ACCI can leverage government and commercial relationships at a higher level than an individual business can, and its connection with international counterparts allows for activities such as business partner matching. "The other end of the spectrum is industrial relations advice, policy advice, all the way to training and education. Our core function is lobbying given that we work on behalf of members," lists Backhouse. He adds that businesses can access trade advice on everything from trade agreements to international compliance issues, and attend seminars on importing and exporting. "The most popular [request] is probably export documentation and export documentation advice, followed by broader trade advice, and then business matching and overseas trade visits and seminars." Visit www.acci.asn.au or call (02) 6273 2311.