Why a Services Exports Action Plan matters?

Services make up around 20 per cent of Australia’s total exports. While there is an appreciable proportion of services value-add embedded in goods exports, there is room to boost further services exports as a greater proportion of our trade. This presents an opportunity for Australian business to capitalise on untapped export potential and for the government to help more services firms succeed in overseas markets.

The world is moving toward knowledge-driven economies, relying on digital and technology-based services and automation with countries and companies seeking innovative services solutions. Services and technology inputs are increasingly embedded across all export sectors and are critical to underpinning growth across the whole economy. Cross-cutting technologies in artificial intelligence, blockchain and cybersecurity offer opportunities to add value across all sectors of the economy.

Issues affecting the international competitiveness of services exporters can be opaque, complex and often involve regulatory and other barriers in both domestic and overseas markets. Therefore, a strategic partnership between industry and government is crucial in advancing the international competitiveness of Australian services and helping more services firms succeed overseas.

The Services Exports Action Plan provides that government-industry meeting point. This collaborative Action Plan is focused on boosting services exports in the longer-term and will also play an important role in Australia’s recovery from COVID-19. In addition, it will have a positive impact on the health and economic recovery of our trading partners.

A national strategic approach to services exports will assist and empower Australia’s businesses, leverage our comparative advantages and make best use of international opportunities. The Action Plan incorporates initiatives that address both the immediate COVID-19-related issues raised by the services sector, and longer-term barriers to services trade. It also provides much sought-after transparency on Government actions and initiatives that support exports and Australian services businesses.

Developing an Action Plan is consistent with the Government’s Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda of promoting an open global economy, securing commercial opportunities, supporting Australia’s commercial interests, and maintaining and strengthening our competitiveness.