The Australian Trade and Investment Commission, better known as Austrade, leads the Australian Government’s work helping Australian businesses to start or expand their exporting business.
Austrade helps Australia’s exporting businesses by offering in-market and in-language advice and support, and by connecting businesses with key commercial and government contacts. They do this through both their digital services and their extensive international network of offices and trade advisers. On the home front, Austrade partners with state and territory governments to deliver the TradeStart program through a network of trade advisers in rural and regional areas. In addition to these services, Austrade administers the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme that helps businesses with international marketing and training costs.
Austrade’s digital services, found at export.business.gov.au, provide a wealth of information on export markets and opportunities, trade regulations and potential barriers, as well as a number of guides on how to:
- assess your readiness to export
- develop an export plan
- choose export markets
- assess the relative competitive strengths of your products or services
- identify channels for getting your product or service to market and
- find out about rules, regulations, tariffs and trade agreements for your product or export market.
The Market Search Tool helps businesses search for opportunities around the globe that are specific to their sector. Whether you want to export dried apples, ball bearings or architectural services—the tool will provide a list of prospective markets for you, along with other sources of information about where to go for help. It's a treasure trove!
You can find a demo of how the Market Search Tool (Trade Information Service) works here.
Austrade’s Tailored Services are provided by Trade Advisers deployed throughout Austrade’s international network of offices. Trade Advisers develop deep expertise in local business and regulatory culture and practices which they use to advise Australian businesses and connect them to key commercial and government contacts. In countries where government endorsement is an important part of doing business, Austrade can often help open doors and, sometimes, resolve red-tape issues. In addition to tailored services, Austrade offices run events and support attendance at trade shows that promote a particular sector and or group of Aussie exporters.
If you are new to exporting, the TradeStart program is another good place to start! It partners export businesses with advisers in all states and territories. TradeStart advisers have access to Austrade information and services as well as any additional export information and services provided by their particular state or territory government. In general, TradeStart advisers will help businesses with exporting business plans, identifying potential markets and international customers, export regulations in Australia and destination markets, and relevant financial products. This information will be tailored to the specific product or service produced by the business. Advisers will also act as a bridge for businesses to access Austrade’s core services. This includes access to Austrade’s offshore offices, which can provide in-market advice and introductions to customers, as well as Austrade’s trade missions and marketing events.
Export Market Development Grants Scheme (EMDG)
The EMDG has been running for about a thousand years…. OK, not that long. But it’s incredibly well known by a lot of exporters because it provides grants that help manage the expenses of international marketing and associated training. The program has evolved over the years with the most recent update happening in 2020-21 when it shifted from being a reimbursement scheme to a forward-looking grants scheme. The difference between the old and new programs, in a nutshell, is while businesses used to spend money marketing their program internationally and then apply for an EMDG reimbursement for eligible expenses, the new program requires businesses to do a forward marketing plan and apply for a grant to help with the expenses they expect to incur. As with any grant program, getting the details right is important. Austrade provide a wealth of information on their website that explains the program in full. It’s not hard to apply – just important to check the details.
‘ACITI Info’ aims to make it easy to access information on Australia's trade and investment practice, profile, policies, programs and research. We provide snapshot summaries of key trade and investment topics relevant to Australia and links to places where you can find more information.
The ACITI website is a living source of information so don’t hesitate to challenge what you read here, tell us what we’re missing, and prod us for more information. We welcome your questions, suggestions and ideas for new content.