Austrade is the Australian Trade Commission – the Federal Govern-ment’s export and investment facilitation agency.It helps Australians win export business and generate inward and outward investment.As a government organisation, Austrade has an official status but maintains a highly commercial focus, operating a network that ensures Australia is a key player in international trade.Although a company may recognise the lucrative benefits of international trade, getting started can be a daunting prospect.Austrade is the first point of contact for any business interested in exporting and may be contacted on 132 878.Austrade can advise on the whole process from the initial stages and can provide practical continuing assistance.Export advisers can help companies determine whether they are ready to export and provide initial advice and general market information to help in deciding how best to proceed.Austrade provides advice to companies on which overseas markets hold the best sales potential for their product, how companies can build a presence in these markets and what sort of practical and financial help is available.With representation in ninety-nine cities in fifty-nine countries including eighty-six overseas offices and thirteen in Australia, Austrade is able to identify potential buyers or agents across the world and to pass on specific business opportunities as they arise.By working with Australian businesses, Austrade can accurately match Australian suppliers with interested local contacts and arrange introductions. It can also engage in long-term partnerships to ensure all possibilities are fully exploited.Austrade provides information tailored to the specific requirements of each business. Relevant information can include detailed market intelligence such as the competition, prospects, cultural considerations, distribution systems and government regulations. When the preparatory work is done, Austrade’s overseas offices can contribute to a successful market visit.Through a global network of offices, Austrade can provide a range of in-market services such as setting up appointments with distributors or other useful contacts, providing on-the-spot briefing on the local business culture and environment, organising interpreters and office facilities, attending meetings to help overcome language or cultural barriers, organising product launches and seminars and preparing publicity material.International trade fairs can be an effective way of promoting your products and services to targeted buyers and users overseas. Austrade coordinates displays for Australian exporters at a range of industry-specific trade fairs around the world.Businesses may be eligible for financial support from Austrade towards the cost of participating in trade fairs.Austrade has an award-winning website at www.austrade.gov.au, called Austrade Online which contains details of nearly 7,500 Australian companies, their products and services.Potential customers can locate businesses listed in Austrade Online by searching under the business name, product or service.Australian businesses can list free of charge by filling out a form available on the site or from our export advisers. More prominent listings are available at a charge.The site also contains information about Austrade services and Australian export statistics.Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants scheme encourages Australian exporters to seek out and develop overseas markets. Under the scheme, eligible businesses are reimbursed for part of the export marketing costs they incur.Copies of Austrade publications are available from public libraries around Australia.l Trevor de Carteret is Austrade’s Regional Trade Commissioner for WA.
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