Exporters’ group disappointed with export grants review


A major exporters’ advisory group, the Export Consultants Association Limited (ECAL), has expressed disappointment with the report by the Australian Trade Commission into the Export Market Development Grants program (EMDG). While ECAL supports the recommendation to extend the program for a further 5 years, it is concerned that an opportunity was lost to address many of the issues raised by exporters regarding the support provided under EMDG.

The report tabled by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, The Hon Mark Vaile recommends a number of minor changes to the successful program with the focus on assisting new exporters to develop export markets for their products. Substantial support was received from the 394 submissions from exporters, industry groups and government bodies for the continuation of the program.

ECAL Chairman, Mr Gary Cronin, has acknowledged that the continuation of the Export Market Development Grants program provides encouragement for many small and medium sized exporters who have made commitments to their future export marketing.

However, Mr Cronin stated that “To ensure the support provided under EMDG complements the Government’s commitment to doubling the number of exporters and the Free Trade Agreements already signed or being negotiated, the program should be extended to encourage existing exporters to create new markets and new products for export.”

“The decrease in the number of EMDG applicants and the underspend of the EMDG budget by Austrade is a concern to the export community and the recommended options for improving the performance of the scheme do not address these concerns.” Said Mr Cronin. ” The recommended options are minor changes that will have limited impact on exporters, whereas more relevant enhancements could have been adopted that would provide greater influence on encouraging Australian businesses to become sustainable exporters within existing budget allocations”.ECAL believes that the report should have recommended implementation of the options canvassed by the EMDG Review Facilitator, Mr Peter Jollie, in Appendix F of the Report. His suggested scheme changes included:

  • Allowing up to 10 grants per firm with limitations on grants after receiving 7 grants
  • Provision for businesses to claim for new markets after receiving 7 grants
  • Provision for state/territory and regional bodies to apply for approved body status
  • Removing/softening some scheme provisions that are restrictive
  • Increase the $30 million annual income limit.
  • Expanding the categories of claimable expenses provided that additional funding is made available.

Issued by the Export Consultants Association Ltd. For further information and comment contact Gary Cronin, Chairman ECAL on (02) 9439 4244 or 0408 222 636.