Despite a slipping Australian dollar and some resurgence in the US market, the Australian manufacturing and export industry requires as much support as possible to survive. Margins have been decimated, demand has been at an all-time low, someone has to ask why the government at a time like this decides to reduce funding and increase criteria for the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Scheme.
The EMDG scheme is targeted at Australian exporters, predominately manufacturers, and traditionally has been an investment by the government to drive export sales for the economy. It has proven to be incredibly successful since its inception in the 1970’s. AIMEX CEO Maryanne Edwards says “AIMEX member research showed that 60% of marine industry exporters claim the scheme played a significant role in getting them into export, while over 20% maintained that without the scheme they would not export at all.”
Funding for the scheme has been on a downward spiral since 2010 at a time when exporters need it the most.
The EMDG Scheme amendment bill 2013 is now in the Senate. This bill sees the allowable years of funding for the US, Canada and EU cut from 7 to 5 years. Whilst it is important for businesses to look at the opportunities that may come from emerging markets it is critical for survival that established markets continue to play a significant part of any export strategy. AIMEX along with other key export bodies is recommending that the status quo be retained and that the incoming government undertakes a detailed review of trade and investment, the EMDG scheme and the funding of its major trade agency, Austrade.
Changes to the EMDG scheme to reduce claims for established markets will affect export revenue and ultimately jobs and sustainability in the export sector.