The Business Council of Australia (BCA) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission as part of the next iteration of the Simplified Trade System (STS) consultation process. The BCA continues to support the work of the STS Implementation Taskforce, which aims to make cross border trade cheaper, faster, and easier.
The BCA has continued to consult with member companies since STS submission from January 2022. BCA member companies include many of the largest businesses in Australia that have extensive engagement with cross-border trading processes. This includes companies that export and import goods they produce and sell, as well as companies involved in transport, logistics and freight.
Australia must effectively engage with other countries across our region and the rest of the world as the strength of our economy is underpinned by our openness. One in five jobs are connected to trade, and around 56,000 Australian businesses are exporters, with 10 per cent of those averaging one export a week. The total value of all trade last year was $1.2 trillion. We are 1.7 per cent of the world economy and our opportunities lie in accessing the other 98.3 per cent.
Openness to trade and investment helps drive productivity growth and improves living standards by increasing access to markets, enhancing product market competition and provides an important channel for the diffusion of technology across countries. To maximise the opportunities from global engagement, Australia must lift the competitiveness of our domestic firms and markets, and also foster openness and reciprocity on the part of our global partners. The benefits of trade liberalisation since the mid-1980s are significant:
◼ the economy is more than five per cent larger today, or more than $100 billion extra income a year; and
◼ average household income is more than $8,000 higher.