The power of proximity to Asia and a lower Australian dollar will no doubt stimulate export opportunities for Australian products and services and a new generation of exporters, says Kerryn Caulfield, Composites Australia Executive Officer.
Australia’s engagement with the global economy offers business, and the community as a whole, both challenges and opportunities. The recent fall of the Australian dollar (to 0.78 cents against the US$ at the time of writing) has changed the dynamics for international customers purchasing Australian products in a short period of time.
According to Gareth Hutchens of the Sydney Morning Herald: “The dollar has fluctuated between $US0.4775 and $US1.10 since it was floated in 1983, and its 30-year average is $US0.70, so theoretically the dollar can still fall.” The bellwether for the Australian economy, the US economy has been improving in recent months, and experts believe it will continue to improve. All indications are that it’s time to ramp-up existing export markets and/or start exporting. Certainly, reports from the Australian marine sector are that offshore enquiries have increased and that there are tentative signs of optimism.
Composites Australia’s export initiative with the CRC-ACS and Advanced Composite Structures Australia is targeting the automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, infrastructure and ground transport sectors in Malaysia and Indonesia. The initiative is based on collaboration and the premise that knowledge and networks are the keys to unlocking export opportunities.
The lower dollar motivated Brian Hughes, CEO of Composite Materials Engineering (pictured) to send his sales team overseas to proactively secure orders. “Our experience shows the tipping point for our offshore customers is around A$0.76 exchange rate,” says Brian. “While our exports have been steadily growing for a number of years, the recent fall in the dollar is an opportunity for us to ramp up our relationships.”
The Australian government’s growing number of Free Trade Agreements in the Asian region is also offering opportunities, as N J Robinson’s Bruce Garbutt notes in the latest issue of Composites Australia’s magazine Connection. The magazine is written and produced by Apical International on behalf of Composites Australia to profile the capabilities of Australian manufacturers and researchers.