Inquiry into diversifying Australia's trade and investment profile - 2020 submission
This submission focusses on the important role that small and medium sized enterprises can play in diversifying and growing Australia’s exports.
There are strong arguments for diversifying Australia’s trade, including for the purposes of managing risks, such as economic downturns of key partners and the impact of ‘trade wars’.
Diversification would best be advanced through small and medium sized firms increasing their contribution to total exports. SMEs are more likely to be responsive to any government action, and more likely to deliver the required economic impact, such as building livelihoods and creating jobs.
SME exporters will require additional funding assistance to ride the current Covid-19 crisis, and to boost their competitiveness in the longer term. Additional targeted support is required for research and development, for broader efforts to realise overseas market opportunities, and to reduce overall trade transaction costs.
Initiatives should also be developed to build the entrepreneurial and exporting capacity of SMEs. These should include individuals and firms in regional and from Indigenous communities, as part of a process of building the pool of exporters for the future.
The very low level of SME contribution to Australian exports (at just 4% of total goods exports by value) suggests that there might be fundamental economic hurdles. A separate comprehensive investigation of this must be undertaken.
A strategic approach must include international efforts, including more ‘aid for trade’, and co-ordinated action between Australia and relevant trading partners in the region to encourage SME trade and to strengthen supply chains.
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"In 2014 Vekta Automation became involved in the Export Awards and started to get a better understanding about the role of the Export Council of Australia. After attending a seminar in Perth in February 2019 the decision was instantly made and we signed up the next day. A decision we should have made 5 years earlier. For Vekta, the information, expertise and networking opportunities that the ECA provides has been valuable. It is reassuring knowing that there are experienced and knowledgeable people we can turn to when advice is needed."
Established in 1970, Mavlab Animal Health Pty Ltd is a Queensland based, family-owned, GMP licenced manufacturer of veterinary pharmaceuticals and pet care products. Mavlab has an extensive range of prescription and over the counter products sold in a growing number of global markets. Contract manufacturing opportunities are also available.