Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
December 2005
Australia Trade Mission Scheduled for May 19-27

To help small- and medium-sized Wisconsin companies increase their exports to Australia, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce (Commerce) is joining with counterparts in other Great Lakes States on a trade mission to Sydney and Melbourne from May 19 - 27, 2006.  The Council of Great Lakes Governors Trade Office in Sydney is coordinating the project in Australia. 

Prior to the mission, the Trade Office will complete advance market research, pre-qualify potential agents/distributors and schedule one-on-one business meetings for participating companies.  Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to attend a business briefing in Sydney and a business networking reception in Melbourne during the weeklong trip. 

Australia has proven to be a very attractive market for U.S. exporters for many years, with strong economic growth fueled by robust business and consumer confidence.  Recently, Australian business has invested strongly in capital equipment across major sectors, including mining, energy, information technology and food processing.  In 2004 Australia ranked as Wisconsin's #9 export destination, with purchases of over $325 million.  In the first nine months of this year, Wisconsin exports to Australia grew by 27% and the country moved up to the #8 position.

Earlier this year, the U.S. - Australian Free Trade Agreement was implemented, eliminating 99 percent of tariffs on U.S.-manufactured exports to Australia.  This has resulted in U.S. manufacturers gaining an average 5 percent price advantage in Australia over competitors in other regions such as the European Union, China and Japan.  The agreement also opened markets for goods and services, eliminating barriers in areas such as agriculture, government procurement and investment. 

Additional opportunities in Australia include information technology, telecommunications, machinery, medical equipment, aircraft and parts, automotive parts, transportation, defense, industrial tools and chemicals.  Because Australia is one of the world's leading mining nations, there is also strong demand for mining equipment. 

Angela Foley, Australian Trade Office Director, said, "The export of mining equipment to Australia has been identified as a key opportunity area for Great Lakes exporters as the country experiences a mining boom to feed the China-driven demand for Australia's mineral commodities."  

In the field of industrial machinery, while competition is strong from Japan and the European Union, Great Lakes exporters can compete especially well with equipment supply into the utility and manufacturing sectors.  In the area of transportation, the Australian government has responded to industry concern about lack of investment in infrastructure.  According to Ms. Foley, investment in the rail sector is now taking place in track and rolling stock upgrades and fast rail links.  In the security sector, the Australian government announced plans in September to spend $154 million improving security at Australia's major airports after a review found major inadequacies.  Furthermore, the government has recently announced an expenditure of $29 million on air cargo security, including new explosives-detection technologies and increased auditing of cargo security clearance.  

For additional information regarding the trade mission to Australia, visit the website or contact John Konkel, jkonkel@cvtc.edu, ph: (715) 833-6441.

-- Stanley Pfrang

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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