ACT businesses are performing strongly on the international stage and a number of initiatives planned for the next few months have the potential to make them an even
more significant player.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s publication ‘Australian Trade by State and Territory 2013-2014’, which was released earlier this year, exports from the ACT have experienced trend growth of 9.2 per cent over five years. This is more than double the national growth rate of 4 per cent.
In 2013-2014, exports from the ACT were worth over $1.2 billion. The ACT’s trade is dominated by services, which accounted for 99.9 per cent of exports. Key contributors included education related travel and government services.
Two trade missions scheduled for this month and next are designed to increase the profile of ACT businesses and the goods and services they can provide to major trading partners.
From 4-9 October, 26 local companies along with the Chief Minister and representatives from Canberra Business Chamber and Invest Canberra will be visiting San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Austin.
The US, and these cities in particular, is a major tech centre and the ACT has a lot to offer in this field.A number of local companies are already exporting their expertise, products and services around the world and there are many others that have potential.
At the moment, exports in telecommunication,computer and information services are worth about $9 million, but are growing. The five year trend growth for this sector is around 4 per cent.
Delegates will be using the trade mission to the United States to market the ACT’s tech savvy businesses and open more doors for them.
This will be followed with a trade mission to Singapore in November. Singapore is among Australia’s closest strategic, political and economic partners, and our most comprehensive business relationship in Southeast Asia.
Singapore is Australia’s fifth-largest trading partner, ($21 billion in 2014) and largest in ASEAN.Opportunities exist for the ACT because services,its main exports, are important to bilateral trade,including technical, business and professional services and transport. Singapore is also one of Australia’s major sources of short-term visitors and international students. It is primed for further growth with the pursuit of direct international flights, which will also be a catalyst to opening other Asian markets for the Canberra region.
The mission will facilitate productive introductions to key stakeholders through business matching meetings, networking events, market briefings and high level business introductions. The Singapore Trade Mission will assist businesses with market development activities and insights and encourage long term partnerships with Singapore companies and investors.
Local businesses already doing well internationally will be honoured on 22 October 2015 at the annual Chief Minister’s Export Awards. Finalists for the awards have been announced and can be seen at http:// actexportawards.com.au/2015/09/2015- inalistsannounced/.Categories include sectors such as health,ICT and business services as well as emerging exporter,capital district exports and exporting government solutions. Congratulations and good luck to all the finalists. Winners will represent the ACT at the national awards in Melbourne on 27 November.
Another positive move for ACT exporters would be ratification of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA). This trade agreement has the potential to boost business in the ACT and a number of members believe it will open up opportunities for them.
China is already Australia’s largest trading partner.Worth $100 billion dollar per year, Australian exports to China are more than the combined value of Australia’s
exports to the United States, the United Kingdom,Canada, France, Germany, South Korea and all of South East Asia.
A China-Australia Free Trade Agreement could benefit the ACT’s knowledge-based,education,research, film and other service industries, as well as agri businesses such as local wineries and gourmet food.
It is possible the Free Trade Agreement will even assist in underpinning demand for direct flights between Asia and Canberra because of increased movement of freight and people travelling for business.
Robyn Hendry, CEO
Canberra Business Chamber