Australian exporters are facing challenges that are unprecedented in scale and coming from multiple fronts.
COVID-19 might soon be under control with the roll-out of vaccines, but global supply chain conditions will remain difficult in the immediate term.
Other issues might prove even more problematic for exporters, including as a result of geo-economic competition and application of border taxes to address climate change.
In its Trade Policy Recommendations 2021 paper, the Export Council of Australia discusses these and other key international trade issues.
The ECA encourages the government to focus its “diversifying trade” efforts at small and medium sized exporters. That is where it will get the best return for its investment.
Urgent action is needed
Digitalisation of trade documentary requirements must be accelerated and supply chain costs must be better managed in order for Australia to remain competitive, the ECA maintains.
Resilient global supply chains must be viewed as a national security issue, and thus will require strategic partnerships with relevant countries and governments.
As growth in trade in services outpace trade in goods, fuelled by advances in technologies, there is room toboost Australian services export performance.
Australia can demonstrate to the world how “inclusive” trade can work, including by building the capabilities of and creating opportunities for Indigenous businesses to export.
The government and business need to explore ways to price the cost of carbon emissions, in line with global efforts, to ensure Australian enterprises are neither penalised nor competitively disadvantaged.
The opportunities are before us. However, we must take appropriate and decisive action. Business and government can work together to realise a competitive and sustainable future.
To download ECA’s Trade Policy Recommendations 2021 paper, click here.