Opportunity in Asia but Australia’s trade competitiveness is a challenge
Support businesses, develop trade
By Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ
This fifth national trade report is particularly timely, carried out during one of the most unpredictable times for global trade and against a backdrop of COVID-19 that has hampered trade and business growth.
As Australia’s bank with the largest international presence, ANZ is actively seeking ways to help businesses grow their trade. We have long supported many of Australia’s largest export-oriented industries, such as resources and agriculture, which remain priority sectors for the bank.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many supply chains and highlights the continued need for businesses to consider market diversification.
ASEAN is one of Australia’s largest trading partners and our family, educational, cultural, security and tourism ties are significant and growing. We consider the region to be fundamental to the growth of Australian exports.
Trade between Australia and ASEAN is approximately A $ 124 billion annually and has grown by A $ 55 billion over the past decade, now surpassing trade with the United States and Japan .
Australia is well positioned to benefit from a growing middle class that will increasingly demand the quality products and services for which Australia is renowned and is expected to more than quadruple in size in the region to reach 161 million households in ‘by 2030.
As the largest Australian bank in Asia, we regularly take our business clients to these markets to help them make new connections and facilitate market access and understanding. We are also working hard to provide digital business solutions and supply chain finance to further develop these markets for our customers.
ANZ has engaged the Home Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the benefits of accelerating the transition from the paper-to-digital business process.
The digitization of these processes would bring business efficiency gains: it speeds up trade, reduces trade transaction costs, is more secure and creates more efficient financial supply chains.
ANZ’s Business Information Network – currently in pilot phase – is a digital platform for buyers and suppliers to enable easy, secure and authenticated communication of business information between themselves and authorized banks.
It is designed to reduce the risk of fraud as well as to enable banks to better assess risk and provide funding earlier.
We also support many small and medium-sized trading businesses with access to finance and resources such as our Be Trade Ready app, created in partnership with the Export Council of Australia to help business owners assess their preparation for international growth.
More generally, free trade agreements continue to expand market access. Business has benefited from the successful conclusion of free trade agreements. They have allowed better market access and reduced the costs of doing business in some of the most important destinations for Australian goods and services.
This will put Australian companies in a good position as they seek to further diversify their markets, a trend we are seeing among our customers.
As trade flows continue to change with the changes a single pandemic brings, ANZ remains committed to supporting the growth aspirations of its customers in Australia and internationally.
– Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ