Two reports conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have stipulated that Australia is in a prime position to develop its e-trade capabilities and remain competitive in the potentially lucrative global arena of virtual commerce.
Driving Forces on the New Silk Road and Creating a Clearway on the New Silk Road address issues of the impact of electronic trade in Australia and the opportunities available through its development.
One of the most obvious outcomes of e-commerce is the expansion of the isolated Australian market into the global community and the consequent growth in exports and employment. In a speech launching the reports, Tim Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party and Minister for Trade, stated: "With the right skills and business strategies the Internet could lead to a doubling or even trebling in the number of Australian firms able to trade across borders."
Internal trade and communications would also benefit from the establishment of an electronic infrastructure. Fischer explains that "the Internet makes a difference for regional Australia because it enables users to tap routinely into hundreds of services".
Australian e-commerce would be most suited to areas of education, financial services, media, tourism and entertainment, he suggested. However, the Internet is not just an exporting and sales tool. According to Fischer, it can also be used by sectors such as manufacturing to improve business practices such as distribution techniques.
According to the reports, Australia is at a distinct advantage to accomplish these feats due to its traditionally high Internet usage, its fully developed networks, its large percentage of PC use, its proximity to trading markets and the ease with which its strong markets, such as financial and professional services, transfer to the Internet.