Australia has proven to be an appealing and profitable market for U.S. companies for many years. Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. It offers very few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, and a sophisticated yet straightforward business culture. While it is important to understand and appreciate Australia’s cultural differences, the long and successful history of U.S. firms in Australia suggests that other U.S. companies will also find this market to be rewarding and attractive. Although modest in size, New Zealand shares similar economic and cultural characteristics to those of the U.S. Going from one of the most regulated economies in the OECD 25 years ago to one of the least regulated now, New Zealand has proven to be one of the most resilient OECD economies, providing a growing and stable platform for both new and experienced Wisconsin exporters. The total value for US exports to Australia and New Zealand is $30.2 billion USD, and Wisconsin’s exports to the region $689 million USD.
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Australia is well integrated into world markets despite its relatively remote geographical position. It is strategically positioned close to Asian markets that are driving fast-growing global food demand, challenging local industry to search for innovation across all aspects of production and the supply chain. Australia’s strong mining and agricultural sectors require industrial machinery, an area of expertise in Wisconsin. In recent decades, Australian manufacturing of high-tech goods, electronics, industrial tools, equipment, and machinery have declined to levels where it is necessary to seek out international suppliers to meet local market demand. High labor and energy costs, as well as geographical challenges, are driving Australian companies to look abroad for new products and solutions in areas such as robotics, automation, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance.
Australia is the seventh-largest export market globally for Wisconsin, and the third-largest in the Asia/Pacific region. Rich in natural resources, Australia has strong mining and agricultural sectors, creating demand for industrial machinery. Australia is in a period of increased infrastructure spending, in particular on railways, airports, roads, and waste management facilities, leading to demand for capital equipment. Australia already imports around 70% of its mining equipment, as well as about 95% of its agricultural equipment and machinery (including tractors). Major capital-type goods, including heavy earth moving equipment, are also typically imported and/or locally assembled by subsidiaries of foreign companies. Additionally, the Australian market for medical equipment and supplies provides good opportunities. The majority of medical technology products used in Australia are imported, with the U.S. being the number-one import source. Wisconsin is already a leader in medical equipment exports, making this a lucrative opportunity for business growth.
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