Australia is a highly developed, internationally competitive, advanced market economy. In 2018, Australia became the world’s wealthiest nation in terms of wealth per adult, and it has a high standard of living and excellent quality of life. It is the 13th-largest global economy according to nominal GDP—on par with or larger than countries such as Mexico, Russia and Spain. In 2018, Australia celebrated its 27th consecutive year of economic growth, marking the longest stretch of growth in modern history. It is an open market with minimal restrictions on the import of goods and services, which has increased productivity, stimulated growth, and made the economy more flexible and dynamic. Because of all these factors, Australia should be a consideration in Wisconsin companies’ export growth strategies.
An upcoming global trade venture to Australia, organized by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), will help connect you to potential buyers, distributors and other partners in the Australian market. With logistics arranged for you, you can focus your energies on meeting and vetting potential partners.
The global trade venture will take place Nov. 15-23, 2019, and will include segments in Sydney and Melbourne. In each city, participating companies will be scheduled for customized business meetings with potential local partners selected specifically for their companies by Wisconsin’s authorized trade representative in Australia. Each participating company will also receive a personalized market assessment detailing considerations and opportunities for the Australia market.
Companies do not need to have prior export experience in order to benefit from this trade venture. Whether companies are new to this market or are looking to expand their presence in Australia, they are invited and encouraged to participate in this trade venture, as long as they view exporting as an integral part of their overall corporate growth strategy.
In fact, as a large, advanced and trade-dependent economy with well-developed infrastructure, Australia is an ideal market for new-to-export companies—as well as those seeking to further expand their business/distribution networks in country. Australia is a market that seeks innovative, advanced technology product and service solutions. Wisconsin companies will find it to be a friendly market with many potential buyers for their products and services—especially if they offer innovations that solve problems for companies in their respective sectors.
The U.S. and Australia maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests and cultural affinities. Economic, academic and people-to-people ties are vibrant and strong. Australia is a highly receptive, open and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Australians purchasing about 11% of their imports from the U.S. The U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement has boosted U.S. exports to Australia by more than 100 percent since coming into force in 2005. Australia ranks as Wisconsin’s eight-largest export destination, with exports to Australia growing by 2.5% in 2018, totaling more than to France, the Netherlands or Belgium. Australia has remained an appealing and profitable market for Wisconsin companies for many years. It offers very few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, and a sophisticated yet straightforward business culture. Although it is important to understand and appreciate Australia’s cultural differences—and a country briefing offered as part of the global trade venture program will cover this topic—the long and successful history of U.S. firms in Australia suggests that Wisconsin companies will also find this market to be rewarding and attractive.
Within Australia’s population of 23 million, Sydney is the largest city, with 5 million people. Situated on the country’s relatively heavily populated eastern seaboard, it lies midway between Brisbane and Melbourne within the major domestic combined market of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria—a combined market that accounts for more than 80 percent of goods and services in Australia. Sydney is recognized as Australia’s only global city and the leading knowledge-based economy in the nation, accounting for about one-fifth of Australia’s economy on its own. In addition to being Australia’s economic and financial hub, it is ranked as one the most influential and multicultural cities in the world. More broadly speaking, New South Wales (the province that includes Sydney) is the largest state economy in Australia, accounting for one third of the country’s total GDP. New South Wales has the largest, most diverse manufacturing base in Australia, with two thirds of it based in greater Sydney. The Australian manufacturing sector is transforming, with growth in advanced and high-value aspects of the sector. Clusters of advanced manufacturing sectors in greater Sydney include aviation/aerospace, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and electronics, to name a few.
The economy of Melbourne and the surrounding province of Victoria is one of the most diversified in Australia. The regional economy accounts for nearly one-fourth of Australia’s total GDP, making it larger than that of Singapore or New Zealand. For more than two decades, this provincial economy has delivered strong and consistent growth, thanks to factors such as economic diversification, a growing population and a long history of prosperity across many industries. Victoria is Australia’s largest source of premium food and fiber products, as well as dairy and prepared foods. Other sector strengths include the aerospace and transportation equipment industries. Melbourne continues to be the number-one choice for a large number of both domestic and foreign-owned businesses, with six of the world’s top 10 and 29 of Australia’s top 100 companies having their headquarters and conducting their business in Melbourne.