Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has launched a program aimed at providing new exporters with the skills they need to capitalise on the opportunities created by the landmark free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China.
The Government will provide $2.45 million over two years to assist with training for small and medium-sized (SMEs) business owners and employees, to better understand exporting and to learn how to access and take advantage of our new trade agreements with our largest Asian trading partners.
“Australia has negotiated preferential treatment under Australia’s FTAs with China, Japan and Korea, but these benefits are meaningless if we don’t seek to quickly take advantage of the opportunities opening up in the region around us,” Mr Robb said.
The Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grants will assist training activities that directly educate SMEs about how to use FTAs with the three target markets, enhance understanding of the benefits and foster greater engagement through knowledge sharing.
The eligible applicants will be organisations equipped to provide this training, such as member-based business organisations, registered training providers and educational institutions.
The grants are part of the Government’s broader efforts to empower and inform businesses about the new trading opportunities created by the agreements, with $24.6 million set aside in the May Budget for a range of advocacy activities.
“Together with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the trade agreements with Asia form a key plank of the Government’s strategy to promote jobs, growth and innovation in this critical post-mining boom period,” Mr Robb said.
“These Asian markets already account for 62 per cent of our total goods exports but there is a huge opportunity to expand our engagement, particularly in services. One of our objectives is to see an increase in the number of SMEs involved in exporting,” he said.
Applications for the first round of training provider grants open on Wednesday 28 October. Guidelines for the scheme are now available online, with information sessions also being held around the country to explain the program. Details can be found online at: www.austrade.gov.au/fta-tp or by phoning 1300 136 014.