For a lot of businesses, the prospect of exporting can seem like a daunting task. But the advantages exporting offers such as higher revenue, wider access to new customers and markets, and the chance to broaden operations, can outweigh the associated risks.
And while there's no one size fits all approach to international trade, regardless of the industry you're in, before committing time, money, and additional resources into exporting, you should have a deep understanding of your business capabilities.
Our Export Skills program is essential training to strengthen your business' export capabilities in today’s rapidly changing global markets.
We guide you through the export lifecycle from the must-haves of paperwork and logistics to understanding market entry barriers, exploring the finer details of successfully establishing connections in other countries, and setting up an online business.
How well do you know your business?
Having a robust business plan will help you gain a solid understanding of your business and its capabilities, as well as improve your chances of securing finance and investment to support your export journey. Treat your plan as a live document that gets updated periodically.
Download our Business Plan template Business Plan Template (DOCX 111.4 KB)
An export plan is an extension of your business plan and will help map a strategy to find new customers and business partners overseas, define your goals and determine if you’re well-resourced to meet those goals.
Download Austrade’s Export Plan template Austrade_Export-Plan-Template.docx (DOCX 215.76 KB)
Assess your capability, capacity and motivation to export by taking Austrade's basic quiz.
Knowing who you'll be up against before you start exporting will provide valuable insights into your competitors' capability.
It also gives you an opportunity to strategically position your unique selling proposition and what your business has to offer in comparison.
The goal of a Competitor Analysis is to minimise direct competition either by choosing vulnerable competitors or by pitting strengths against weaknesses.
Use our four-step competitor analysis to evaluate just how strong your competition is.
Download our Four-step Competitor Analysis template Global-Victoria-Four-step-Competitor-Analysis_March-2022.docx (DOCX 104.9 KB)
Download Austrade's Competitor Analysis template Austrade_Competitor-Analysis-Template.docx (DOCX 34.89 KB)
There's a lot to consider when choosing the right export market for your goods or service. That's why it pays to do your research.
Explore our global markets to find out about the current state of play, learn about the opportunities for Victorian businesses and connect with our regional specialists who can help you make an informed decision when choosing an export market.
Austrade's Market Profiles provide an extensive overview of export markets, including recent developments to support your research.
Tariffs vary across product type and market and should be carefully considered when choosing an export destination.
Similar to import regulations, they're frequently revised and subject to change without notice, so it's important to reconfirm tariffs before you start exporting.
Austrade provides up-to-date information on tariffs and regulations in your target market.
In most cases, products are identified by a system known as the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or the Harmonized System (HS). The HS has been adopted as the basis for describing and classifying goods for customs purposes by most trading nations.
The Australian Government Free Trade Agreement Portal can help you determine your product's HS Code and find out if any tariffs apply.
Australia has a number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with international trading partners.
FTAs provide many benefits for exporters such as:
Find out which FTAs apply to you
You’ve done your research, you’ve chosen an export market, but how you enter the market will be driven by the nature of your goods or service, industry requirements and where in the world your market is located.
A market entry strategy will clearly identify the all-important specifics – from understanding your target market, to contractual entry modes, investment entry modes and selling online.
Download and learn more about the types of exporting strategies
If you're a Victorian business that imports products with the intention of then exporting the finished product, you may qualify for the Tradex Scheme.
Learn more about the Tradex Scheme
Trusted Trader reduces red tape at the border, improves certainty in export markets, and expedites the flow of cargo in and out of Australia, which means faster access to market.
Administered by Home Affairs with the Australian Border Force, Trusted Trader is free and accredits Australian businesses with compliant trade practices and a secure supply chain.
Once accredited, businesses have access to a growing range of benefits that simplify their customs processes.
Learn more about Trusted Trader
Exporting brings with it exciting new opportunities as well as a number of potential risks and challenges.
Bottom line is, if you're aware of the risks – you'll know how to manage them.
For example, in the United Arab Emirates, local laws can have an impact on how businesses and business people need to operate. It's imperative to be fully aware of the legal environment in which you're operating. Working closely with your potential local buyer is essential to understanding their requirements and local import rules and regulations.
Being culturally aware and adapting your behaviour can help maximise opportunities, and importantly avoid misunderstandings which can come about from cultural differences.
Take time to understand the culture, language, religion, ethical standards and business practices of your target market, as well as getting to know your customers and business partners well. And make an effort to understand how culture impacts attitudes towards your product and service.
For example, time moves in a different, more relaxed fashion in the Middle East when it comes to work schedules. "Don't be surprised if your business partner is late for a meeting. Be patient. Pressuring your business partners for a meeting at a specific time may not be well received," advises Kassem.
The number one rule of thumb? It's important not to generalise because some countries are incredibly diverse and have different cultural nuances.
There are essentially four types of legal systems across the world.
Common law is a body of law based on judicial decisions and customs as distinct from statute law.
Civil law is based on an explicit written codification of what is permissible, and what is not.
Theocratic law is based on rules relating to faith and the practice of a particular religion.
For example, a halal certificate issued by a UAE approved Islamic centre in Australia is compulsory for exporting any meat, poultry products or products containing gelatine. This documentation may also require attestation by the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and UAE Embassy.
Bureaucratic law is largely determined and enacted by the bureaucracy of the government in power.
Visit Austrade's Market Profiles to find out which laws pertain to your market
Intellectual property (IP) encompasses everything that has been created by you or your business, including ideas, technologies, literature, products and services.
Before entering a foreign market, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice from a reputable IP law specialist – such as a patent attorney – who knows the local conditions.
While Australia has a strong and extensive IP framework to protect the IP rights of businesses and individuals, other countries may not.
For example, IP rights have been notoriously difficult to enforce in China and Malaysia – and despite recent improvements in the ability to both register and protect IP – some companies reportedly continue to suffer commercial losses due to problems in this area.
Visit IP Australia’s website to learn how to develop a strategy for your Intellectual Property
The types of export documentation you may need depends on where you're exporting to, and how you're planning to transport your cargo.
Visit Austrade's Export Market Profiles to learn about current tariffs, duty rates, regulation and certification and other documentation required that apply to your export destination of choice.
Visit the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry for information about a Certificate of Origin (CO)
The Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) controls exports of agricultural products.
DAWE also provides export controls and assistance on exporting goods from Australia ,as well as up-to-date information on halal certification for different countries.
Visit DAWE to learn about the requirements set by Australia's agricultural export trading partners according to the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MiCor)
Visit the Australian Government's Export Finance Australia website to learn more about insurance products, including credit insurance and political risk insurance.
Visit Austrade to learn more about payment methods
Austrade also provides details about the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or the Harmonized System (HS), which forms the basis for describing and classifying goods for customs purposes by most trading nations.