Service providers urged to export

Service providers urged to export

The government agency charged with promoting Australian business overseas, Austrade, is calling for more local professional services providers to export.

With services now accounting for two-thirds of the world's economic activity, Austrade has released a new guide to assist local providers make the most of global opportunities.

Explaining the release of From Contacts to Contracts, Austrade's chief economist, Tim Harcourt, said there was plenty of demand for the sector which accounted for 76 per cent of Australia's GDP.

"The share of services and IT services in particular, as a part of the global economy is really increasing," he said. "If that's where the action is, that's where Australia needs to be."

Unlike primary industries, which had time to build up bodies to represent their interests overseas, the newer services industry needed more assistance from the agency.

"Wheat exporters have the Wheat Board and wool exporters have the Wool Board," Harcourt said. "Services exporters don't have quite the same level of infrastructure, so Austrade is trying to do more in this area."

Until recently, would-be exporters had to rely on alliances such as the Australia-China Business Council and industry-specific professional bodies to make inroads into overseas markets, he said.

"People know that Australia is good at farming, mining and natural gas, but they don't know how good we are at software, computer training and other services," Harcourt said. "This is a way to build our national brand and basically give people the confidence to export."

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