Supporting businesses, expanding trade
By Shayne Elliott, ANZ CEO
This fifth National Trade report is particularly timely, conducted during one of the most unpredictable times for global trade and against a backdrop of COVID-19 that has hampered trade and business growth.
As the Australian bank with the largest international presence, ANZ is actively looking for ways to support business expand trade. We have been a longstanding supporter of many of Australia’s largest export focused industries such as resources and agriculture, which remain priority sectors for the bank.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many supply chains and highlights the ongoing need for businesses to consider market diversification.
ASEAN is one of Australia’s largest trading partners and our family, education, cultural, security and tourism links are significant and growing. We view the region as fundamental to Australia’s export growth.
Trade between Australia and ASEAN is worth around $A124 billion each year and has grown by $A55 billion in the past decade – now exceeding trade with the US and Japan.
Australia is well placed to benefit from a growing middle class which will increasingly demand the quality products and services Australia is renowned for and is forecast to more than quadruple in size across the region to 161 million households by 2030.
As Australia’s biggest bank in Asia, we regularly take our commercial customers into these markets to help them make new connections and assist with market access and understanding. We’re also working hard to provide digitised trade solutions and supply chain financing to further develop those markets for our customers.
ANZ has engaged the Depart of Home Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the benefits of expediting the transition of paper-based trading process to digital.
Digitisation of these processes would bring trade efficiencies: it increases the speed of trade, reduces trade transaction costs, is more secure and creates more efficient financial supply chains.
ANZ’s Trade Information Network - currently in pilot - is a digital platform for buyers and suppliers to enable easy, secure, and authenticated communication of trade information between themselves and permissioned banks.
It is designed to reduce fraud risks as well as enabling banks to better assess risk and provide financing earlier.
We also support many small to medium businesses with trade through access to funding and resources such as our Be Trade Ready application, created in partnership with the Export Council of Australia to help business owners assess their readiness for international growth.
More broadly, free trade agreements continue to broaden market access. Businesses have benefited from the successful completion of free trade agreements. They have provided greater market access and reduced the costs of doing business in some of the most important destinations for Australian goods and services.
This will put Australian businesses in good stead as they seek further market diversification, a trend we are seeing among our customer base.
As trade flows continues to shift with the changes a once in a lifetime pandemic brings, ANZ remains committed to supporting our customers’ growth aspirations in Australia and overseas.
- Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ