Foreign Policy White Paper—2017 Submission


Submission Overview

Since the last Foreign Policy White Paper, Australia’s overall export performance has been good. Between 2005 and 2015, Australia’s goods and service exports grew at 5.8% per annum. This contrasts favourably to overall world trade growth over the period of 5.3% p.a. But the number of Australian exporters—the businesses that generate better jobs and invest more than non-exporters—grew at 0.9% p.a. Over this period, export value became more concentrated in the major exporters.

This minimal growth in the number of exporters has been despite the economic transformation happening across the region. From 2005 to 2015, the economies of ASEAN more than doubled in size, as did India’s (in USD at current prices). China’s economy grew from USD 2.3 trillion to USD 11.5 trillion. This transformation will continue over the next ten years. 

To ensure Australian SMEs don’t miss the opportunities of tomorrow, the government must look holistically at the support it provides them. It must develop a national strategy for trade to better coordinate how it supports businesses to trade internationally. This must include investing more in educating Australian businesses about these opportunities and supporting them to learn how to access those opportunities. In
particular, the government should seek to provide better support to services exporters seeking to access international markets.


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Ed Serrano
Managing Director,
VEKTA Advanced Automation
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