Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exporting to Asia will benefit most from changes to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said today.
Legislation will be introduced this year to amend the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 so more of EFIC's resources are devoted to SMEs looking to expand overseas.
The legislation is the Government's response to the Productivity Commission's report on Australia's export credit arrangements.
EFIC will apply a new market failure test that will help it determine an exporter's eligibility for its financial products and services. It will also be given new powers to better support Australian manufacturing and service businesses participate in global and regional value chains.
The response is part of a commitment in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper to direct more of EFIC's resources to SMEs looking to expand into the emerging and frontier markets of Asia.
Dr Emerson, who is also Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy, said while EFIC already played a valuable role in assisting exporters, the reforms would help it keep pace with changes in the global economy.
"EFIC's new mandate and revised powers are another step towards realising the objectives set out in the White Paper," Dr Emerson said.
"Increasing participation in regional value chains will result in increased specialisation and productivity as Australian companies focus more on high value-added activities."
The changes at EFIC follow recent reforms at Austrade and to the Export Market Development Grants program to sharpen the focus on businesses exporting to emerging and frontier markets.
The Government response agrees in whole or in part with 16 of the Productivity Commission's recommendations and notes the remaining six.
Further information on the Government's response to the Productivity Commission report can be found at www.efic.gov.au/EFICreforms.
- Minister Emerson's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555