Australian exporters are expecting stronger business conditions over the next two years and plan to hire more staff, according to the results of the latest Australian International Business Survey (AIBS).
They also anticipating access to more international markets, buoyed by new trade opportunities.
Now in its fifth year, Australia’s International Business Survey (AIBS) is the largest survey of its kind into SMEs actively undertaking international business activities.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the report indicated Australian exporters had strong confidence in their ability to grow and expand into new markets.
“Looking into the future, 45 per cent of businesses expect to move into at least four new international markets over the next two years,” Mr Birmingham said, “which is an incredible level of ambition and potential growth.”
The report shows 66 per cent of respondents expect to have a better financial outlook for their operations than the previous two years and 75 per cent plan to increase employee numbers in Australia in that same timeframe.
Trading trends and opportunities
Top international revenue markets for respondents were the United States, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore. The US was also the most popular new market for respondents, followed by China and the UK.
This year’s report includes a special focus on two emerging opportunities and trends in Australia’s trade space: the business experience of the Latin American market, and the use of new technologies and online platforms to drive export sales.
Mr Birmingham says Australian businesses are experiencing greater certainty and reacting positively to the opportunities from a more open trade environment.
The government would continue to search for new market opportunities for Australian businesses and farmers so they can keep growing their exports.
“Out of the top 20 countries where businesses were looking to expand into, Australia currently has in place or is negotiating a bilateral or multilateral free trade agreement with up to 18 of them, including six within the TPP-11,” Mr Birmingham said.
“Almost 70% of businesses operating in Latin America did so in one or more of the four countries of the Pacific Alliance which encompasses Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – and with which Australia is currently negotiating an FTA.”
Opening up new markets
Also, Australia recently finalised negotiations on a new trade deal with Indonesia and the TPP-11 legislation is due to be debated in the Senate before the end of the year.
Discussions are also continuing for trade agreements with the European Union (EU) and Hong Kong.
“Even in the light of global headwinds, we will continue to forge ahead with opening up new markets for our businesses as this ultimately helps build a stronger economy and creates more Australian jobs,” said Mr Birmingham.
This year’s AIBS involved 713 Australian businesses, 60 per cent of which had revenue of less than $5 million and 19 or less employees.
The survey was conducted by AMR Research with support from Austrade, Export Finance Investment Corporation and the Export Council of Australia.
The report can be found at: www.austrade.gov.au/aibs2018.