Australian exporters are expecting to employ more workers, are predicting better financial positons and anticipating access to more markets, according to the results of the latest Australian International Business Survey (AIBS).

The AIBS provides a unique insight into the perceptions of internationally-engaged Australian businesses, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized businesses.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the report indicated Australian exporters had strong confidence in their ability to grow and expand into new markets.

“Looking into the future, 45 per cent of businesses expect to move into at least four new international markets over the next two years,” Minister Birmingham said, “which is an incredible level of ambition and potential growth.

“66 per cent indicated they expected to have a better financial outlook for their operations than the previous two years and 75 per cent plan to increase employee numbers in Australia in that same timeframe.

“These are good indicators of the strong economic climate Australian businesses are experiencing under our Liberal-National Government, thanks in part to our new trade deals that are opening up additional markets and lower taxes that encourage more business investment.”

Minister Birmingham also said Australian businesses were experiencing greater certainty and reacting positively to the opportunities from a more open trade environment.

“The Liberal-National Government continues to search for new market opportunities for Australian businesses and farmers so they can keep growing their exports,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Out of the top 20 countries where businesses were looking to expand into, Australia currently has in place or is negotiating a bilateral or multilateral free trade agreement with up to 18 of them, including six within the TPP-11.

“Almost 70% of businesses operating in Latin America did so in one or more of the four countries of the Pacific Alliance which encompasses Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru — and with which Australia is currently negotiating an FTA.

“We are making significant inroads having just finalised negotiations on our trade deal with Indonesia, TPP-11 legislation due to be debated in the Senate shortly and discussions underway on other agreements such as the EU and Hong Kong.

“Even in the light of global headwinds, we will continue to forge ahead with opening up new markets for our businesses as this ultimately helps build a stronger economy and creates more Australian jobs.”

The AIBS is one of Australia’s largest surveys of internationally engaged businesses with this year’s survey capturing 713 Australian businesses, 60 per cent of which had revenue of less than $5 million and 19 or less employees.

The survey was conducted by AMR Research with support from Austrade, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and the Export Council of Australia. The Final Report can be found at: www.austrade.gov.au/aibs2018.

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