International business in Australia: export and import opportunities

Australia is known worldwide as a remote country with amazing tourist attractions. Its culture is increasingly diversified – sports still plays a huge part, but it has also made its name in arts and innovation. It is also a big importer of goods and services.

Australia is among the top 10 most business-friendly countries in the world and ranks 10th in the world in ease of doing business. With an area of approximately 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world.

Approximately, 21% of the Australian GDP is a potential market for exporters. Imports into Australia, as a percentage of the GDP, have been consistently growing since 1971. When exporting to Australia, compliance with local laws and regulations, understanding the business culture, duties and taxes, legalities, and competing successfully in the Australian marketplace require knowledge, experience, and local expertise.

Economic parameters of Australia (As of 2019)

Population (million) 25.88
GDP (Trillion USD) 1,397
GDP per capita (USD) 55,060
GDP per capita PPP (USD) 53,469
Purchasing power per dollar, compared to the USA 71%
Surface area (sq km) 7,692
% of population living in urban areas 90%
% of GDP added by agriculture – industry – services 2.09% – 25.2% – 66.15%
Ease of doing business index (1 = best, 180 = lowest) 14

What are business opportunities in Australia?

At present, Australia welcomes investments and offers opportunities in the following sectors:

  • Agribusiness and food
  • Major infrastructure
  • Tourism infrastructure
  • Resources and energy
  • Advanced manufacturing, services and technology

Where the action really is – international business and Australia

The top three sectors where Australia interacts with foreign entities are Tourism, Crude Petroleum, and Passenger Vehicles. The table below gives details of the top 10 import categories in Australia:

 Rank  Commodity  Value  % share
 Total (b)  329,284
 1  Personal travel (excl education) services  24,725  7.5
 2  Crude petroleum  20,226  6.1
 3  Passenger motor vehicles  18,292  5.6
 4  Refined petroleum  18,230  5.5
 5  Freight transport services  9,348  2.8
 6  Telecom equipment & parts  9,068  2.8
 7  Medicament (incl veterinary)  7,830  2.4
 8  Computers  6,942  2.1
 9  Passenger transport services (c)  6,839  2.1
 10  Goods vehicles  6,436  2.0

What are Australia’s important events?

Australia prides itself as a sporting nation. The top three most followed sports in Australia are Australian Rules football, Horse Racing, and the Rugby league. Aussies are very serious about their favorite teams and sports, often taking time off from work to watch their favorite fixtures. Australians love the outdoors and socialize gregariously. The weekend barbecue in good weather – ‘Barbie’ – is a rite to follow; food, wine, drink, and entertainment after a hard work week are to be indulged in unfailingly.

Given Australia’s democratic setup and a ‘fair dinkum’ philosophy that believes in giving a fair go to everyone, Australia beckons to business and offers many opportunities.

Australia offers several support mechanisms to entities wanting to conduct business in the country. Global trade fairs are regularly conducted at various locations in Australia as part of a range of business support activities, to bring prospective buyers and businesses together.

Given its largely law abiding population and one of the best legal and judicial systems in the world, trade regulations and compliance requirements are enforced astutely. Knowledge of customer behavior, business culture and philosophy, and local etiquette goes a long way to successfully do international business in Australia.

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