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Access Asia: Leveraging free trade agreements for Australian trade growth

Free trade agreements for Australian trade growth

Successfully negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with Asian nations is a challenge for Australian governments, but it is critically important that Australian businesses take full advantage of the opportunities they offer. International exports of goods and services overall contributes 41 percent of nominal GDP. Eleven of Australia’s top 15 bilateral trading partners are Asian, while 10 of Australia’s top 15 trading partners are covered under FTAs with Australia.

Doug Ferguson

Partner in Charge, Asia & International Markets and NSW Chairman

KPMG Australia


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There is great interest from Australian companies in growing trade relationships with developing markets in Asia, and taking advantage of FTAs to do so. There is scope for existing Australian exporters to up-scale and move into multiple markets, as well to increase the number of Australian companies exporting.

However, KPMG’s research has discovered that many companies are having difficulty with utilising FTAs. They are struggling with market entry strategies, connecting with local Asian partners, distribution models, branding and intellectual property protection, reputational and legal risks, and other non-tariff barriers.

Our report, Access Asia – Leveraging free trade agreements for Australian trade growth, delves into why FTAs can be challenging for Australian organisations, and unveils the amount of trade that Australia is missing as a result.

It also demonstrates why it is so important that these hurdles are overcome, as well as:

  • how companies can access FTAs and why they are no substitute for developing and executing an export strategy
  • six critical elements for successful trade in Asia
  • and how e-commerce can be the bilateral trade super highway.

It provides a case study on the Alibaba Group and how it can offer new markets for Australian exporters, as well as exploring how to navigate transfer pricing and other evolving tax laws in the region.

© 2020 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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