From COVID-19's profound disruptions in international trade comes export opportunities for WA businesses looking to de-risk and diversify.
As Michael Carter, manager of CCIWA's International Trade and Investment Centre, explains, if you're prepared to do your homework, there are many reasons why right now may be the time to go global.
Global trade's COVID-19 fallout — skyrocketing freight costs, supply chain disruptions, reduced demand and volatile foreign exchange rates — aren't likely to disappear any time soon. But for those with an international market, or an international appetite, the fundamentals of doing good business globally remain the same.
New government stimulus, grants, free trade agreements, and shifting international markets have created fresh opportunities. And if you've had inquiries from international buyers, or have a nagging sense you're missing out on an international market, you may be leaving money and opportunities to future-proof your business on the table.
No one-size-fits-all approach
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to international trade. Whether you're selling swimwear, fruit, or prosthetic limbs, you need to understand your businesses capabilities and ambition.
Exporting isn't for everyone. To go from local to global you will need passion and commitment from your leadership team, resources, a realistic sense of timing and returns, the right research, and a clear and measurable export plan.
First, what do I mean by passion? You need to be able to see the value in taking your business global. Making a few global sales is very different to developing an international market for your product — the latter requiring a commitment that not every business has.
If you have a leadership team, they not only need to support that ambition, but also to understand the importance of developing your export market, and be prepared to champion your case to your employees. While going global doesn't necessarily mean costing a huge amount of money, it takes resources and can require changes to your products and priorities.
Developing your export market
Resourcing is critical. There's no single formula to developing your new export market. Our experts consider:
- Your unique business operations and products.
- Grants and funding sources. We monitor and liaise with State and Federal governments to help offer opportunities to kickstart our local businesses looking to launch products globally or develop current markets.
- Global market trends. We use exclusive market data and our network of business contacts to home in on shifting consumer demands.
- Global freight capabilities.
- The international regulatory environment. That includes:
- Import and export duties and taxes. A review of these costs can also be critical for businesses already doing importing or exporting. It may be that there's an opportunity to save thousands of dollars.
- The progress of Australia's trade agreements internationally. The last few years have seen progress in new regions and shifting concerns in others.
- The cost and difficulty of doing business in some international markets.
- The approvals required by different international regulators. You may have to alter your product before seeking to sell it in a new market.
- Cultural context. This context is critical and means more than just knowing the correct mannerisms when conducting business negotiations. Our experts leverage local networks and act as business matchmakers to connect you to trustworthy partners. We also help you research whether you need changes in your product to appeal to foreign consumers.