The possible Australian trade consequences from the US election result

The possible Australian trade consequences from the US election result

According to most officials, we appear to have a winner in the United States (US) election with the announcement of the success of the Biden/Harris ticket.

It has yet to be recognised or endorsed by the current US President and his followers but the plan seems to be that the Biden/Harris administration will be inaugurated on 20 January 2021. Although the manner of that inauguration may be very different in the time of the pandemic.

There are a few immediate items of interest:

  • The sudden reality that lawyers may have a crucial role in post-election litigation. However, we need to remember that none of this crisis was caused by the lawyers and any involvement on their part is limited to those called in to deal with issues. That could include members of the Supreme Court who often face the pressure of being seen as supporting the political party who backed their election to the Supreme Court.
  • This election is not solely about selecting the President. At the same time as the US is voting for its leader, much of the US is voting in elections for Congress, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate. Currently, the Democrats have control of the House of Representatives although it now appears that control of the Senate may be a “tie” or with a slim Republican majority. Although this will not prevent the President to pass Executive Orders such as those President Trump has used to effect massive dumping tariffs and other trade initiatives, it does mean that other legislation will be dependent on the ability of President Biden to use his years of experience in the US Senate to build bipartisan support for the legislative agenda and the approval of members of the new Biden administration such as the Secretaries of State and Defence.
  • There will most likely be no direct effect on our trade relationship with the US. Both Presidential candidates have expressed support for the Australian relationship which should preserve our trade with the US, including exemptions from the current high US tariffs on steel, aluminium and other manufactured goods. It is yet to be seen whether our Prime Minister can secure the type of close relationship with President Biden that he appeared to have with President Trump. At the least, the US will look for allies against China in our region.
  • One crucial question is whether Biden will follow Trump’s aggressive trade policies or if he will “wind them back” in some fashion, including whether he will change the sections 232 and 301 duties and the Australian exemptions or reverse Trump’s actions to block the operation of the World Trade Organisation and consent to the appointment of new members to the United Nations appellate body. Biden has said he will keep “fire to the feet of China” on perceived unfair trade practices in China. This should lead to the maintenance of the existing “Phase One” Agreement between the US and China and other agreements between the two countries, with China being obliged to continue to buy substantial amounts of US goods. The wider issue is the approach to other international bodies such as the World Health Organisation which really needs positive US support.
  • I don’t think that a Biden victory will lead to a reduction in Chinese action against Australian exports which is largely an independent issue. However, China may take the opportunity of possible early uncertainty in the US to escalate its trade actions against the US and Australia exporters and others such as an “independent” UK.
  • A possible significant difference may arise between Australia and the US on environmental issues. The European Union has already raised the issue of climate change policy with Australia in its Free Trade Agreement negotiations, and President-elect Biden has already indicated he expects US trade partners to adopt policies to immediately deal with climate change issues which could challenge the relationship with Australia. Similar comments from the US have been to the effect that it expects its trading partners to show leadership on human rights and other more “social interest” policies.
  • Although trade policies of the Biden/Harris administration have shown a preference for multilateral trade agreements instead of bilateral deals, there is no evidence that the US may look to unravel the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement which started recently or move to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement from which it had withdrawn before its commencement. Given that the Trump administration removed the US from steps to liberalise trade with Iran (which then stalled international moves on that front), there is no immediate clarity on whether the US will now seek to re-engage with Iran and lead international efforts to re-engage Western countries with Iran on trade. Certainly, Australian exporters would be keen on movement on this issue as new US policies could allow our exporters to trade directly with Iran and receive payment for their products and services from Iran. At the moment, measures to allow payments from Iran would be of real assistance.

As we all know, “it’s not over until it’s over” and a clear view of the outcome and consequences will take some time. It makes the watching and re-watching of The West Wing an important educational tool and throws into question the value of pre-election polling which has not been at all accurate.

I will continue to provide details on these developments and future events. For further advice on any questions you may have, please contact our Customs & Tradeteam for further advice.

This article was first published here.

Export Finance Webinar: Are you prepared for 2021? Register today!

Export Finance Webinar: Are you prepared for 2021? Register today!

Are you financially prepared for export in 2021?

Following a disrupted 2020, what challenges and opportunities does 2021 have in store? Uncertain economic conditions, currency fluctuations, export marketing budget constraints and an increased need to de-risk your export operations.

AUSVEG together with Western Union Business Solutions are proud to invite you to join our specialist panel as we discuss the outlook for 2021, currency trends, export marketing funding opportunities and practical tips to better manage the financial risks associated with exporting, help protect against unfavourable currency movements and better prepare your business for exporting in 2021.

Date: Wednesday 18 November
Time: 3:00pm (AEDST)


  • MC: Dianne Tipping, Chair, Export Council Australia
  • Steven Dooley, Currency Strategist, Western Union Business Solutions
  • Chris Papademetriou, A/g Regional Manager NSW & ACT, Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Program
  • Chris Schreurs, Director | Business & Commercial Operations, Schreurs & Sons

ECA Congratulates Trade Minister Simon Birmingham on His New Appointment

ECA Congratulates Trade Minister Simon Birmingham on His New Appointment

The Export Council of Australia wishes to congratulate Simon Birmingham, Minister for Finance, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator for South Australia on his appointment to the position of Minister of Finance.

Statement from the Minister dated 30 October 2020

I thank the Prime Minister for entrusting me with the responsibility of serving as Australia’s new Minister for Finance and as the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The world faces the largest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. My first priority is to work with the Prime Minister, Treasurer and our team to fully implement our plan for economic recovery laid out in the recent budget. Our government’s most important achievement pre-pandemic was the extent of job creation across Australia. More than 1.5 million additional jobs delivered record employment, record workforce participation, a stronger economy, stronger revenue flows and lower social security costs.

Crucially, it also delivered Australian households with greater economic strength and independence, while allowing government to invest more in health, education, disability, aged care and other essential services, as well as our national security. Creating the investment and business conditions to again drive jobs growth is the most important task ahead. We will only be able to restore budget finances with a strong economy and high levels of employment. Although post-budget confidence has grown strongly across Australia, the circumstances in parts of Europe and the United States are a constant reminder that COVID-19 creates many uncertainties. Between now and next year’s budget we will closely monitor global impacts on the recovery and build on our plan as necessary.

For now, I will also continue as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. We will not relent in seeking to advance and, where possible, conclude trade negotiations, while actively supporting our exporting farmers and businesses. Our amazing tourism industry is most deeply impacted by COVID-19. Tourism businesses and jobs will continue to have my close attention now and into the future as we work to help the industry survive, adapt and rebuild.

The Australian Senate is one of the great pillars of our democracy. Although sometimes a frustration for governments, the Senate is an important check and balance as well as a powerful voice for smaller states. Together with new Deputy Leader Michaela Cash, Manager of Government Business Anne Ruston and my government colleagues, I look forward to working with senators from across the political spectrum to achieve the best outcomes for Australians.

My predecessor, Mathias Cormann, dedicated himself to the finance ministry with diligence, discipline and determination. Mathias’s tireless work to bring the federal budget back to balance helped to ensure we could respond to the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. Our resilience and strong plans are delivering better results than most other nations. As Senate Leader Mathias demonstrated a respect for the institution while achieving results for the government and the nation.

China trade disruptions

China trade disruptions

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will continue to provide certification for goods that meet the requirements of the Export Control Act.

Exporters/export registered establishments are advised that some recent shipments have been delayed on entry into China, leading to commercial losses.

While the department will continue to facilitate market access and seek to ensure importing country requirements are up to date and accurate, the department encourages exporters to fully consider their own risk and potential losses.
Exporters should ensure that they have independently confirmed relevant importing country requirements.
Exporters are urged to seek advice from importers on potential for disruption to the clearance of their shipment.

Free Trade Advantage – a practical guide to free trade

Free Trade Advantage – a practical guide to free trade

Join the many Australian businesses already taking advantage of Australia’s FTAs.

Free Trade Advantage is a free and easy-to-use digital learning platform to help Australian businesses and exporters to better understand the benefits of free trade. The platform has over 40 hours of content, useful resources, interactive modules, digital seminars and lots more.

Filled with videos, animations, interactive quizzes, and a glossary to explain all the technical terms – Free Trade Advantage is designed to help new and experienced exporters alike navigate the FTA process, making sure Australian businesses make the most of all the benefits FTAs have to offer.

Free Trade Advantage includes detailed market information on Australia’s free trade agreement partner markets, case studies, information about Harmonized System (HS) Codes and how to use them, Incoterms® 2020 Rules, intellectual property when exporting, and government contacts for further information and assistance.
The Free Trade Advantage platform is an important element of the Government’s efforts to raise awareness among Australian businesses about how to make the most of our growing network of free trade agreements.

This is a free learning platform, but you will need to sign up to access it.

IP Australia – helping SMEs protect their inventions

IP Australia - helping SMEs protect their inventions

Are you considering exporting your goods or services overseas?

If you’re an innovative small to medium business (SME) you need to know how you can protect and leverage your ideas in Australia as well as overseas.
Understanding intellectual property (IP) can help you establish your market position, secure your IP rights, and ensure you don’t infringe on existing IP in that country.

IP is available to anyone, regardless of your business size.

Seeking formal protection through the patent system can seem daunting, so IP Australia has launched some new initiatives to help you navigate the patent process.

The new initiatives include:

  • a dedicated SME portal where you can access tailored digital products, including IP webinars, toolkits and information, ranging from IP basics through to more complex issues including enforcement, commercialisation and exporting
  • SME Fast Track which means any SME can fast track their Australian patent application at no additional cost
  • an SME Case Management service particularly aimed at SMEs who may not yet have legal representation, providing dedicated IP Australia subject matter experts to assist at any stage of the patent process.
Via our SME portal, you can find our resources specifically designed to help you take you IP global! You can also read a range of case studies highlighting how IP has helped other SMEs to become successful here and overseas.
Through these initiatives, IP Australia is ensuring you have access to the information and support you need to successfully protect your inventions.
Find out more by visiting the SME Portal.

Getting the Export Documentation Right – Online Live Workshops Now Available

Getting the Export Documentation Right - Online Live Workshops Now Available

The preparation of export documentation can be confusing, time consuming, costly, and prone to human error, but correct export documentation is vital for any exporter to transact business in an efficient and cost effective way. The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has developed a series of workshops for companies wanting to understand export documentation requirements and/or gain assistance in training their team in processing documentation correctly and efficiently.

Please note there are three workshops available covering different topics – you can attend one or all three!

Click here to register for all three workshops to save $150!

Or click on individual course below:

International Contracts of Sale & Incoterms 2020

Topics covered:

  • International Contracts of Sale
  • Incoterms 2020
  • Revision
  • Guest speaker: Learn trade insights from an experienced trade lawyer

About this workshop:

This workshop will focus on the importance of contracts, what types of contracts are available, plus the range of issues to take into account when considering the relevant roles and responsibilities in any contract of sale. Contract of sale examples will be provided so learners can review and ask questions relevant to their business.
Our specialist trainer will also review the newly released Incoterms 2020 and explain exactly what they are, the rules surrounding them and the importance of using them correctly.

Want more?

We’re inviting an international trade lawyer to the session. They will also be discussing the above topics, sharing best practice and answering all those questions you’ll bring along that are relevant to your business.

COST: $275 (incl GST)

Date: Monday 16 November 2020
Time: 9am – 11.30am (2.5 hours)

Export Documentation & Procedures Plus Costing for Export

Topics covered:

  • Export Documentation and Procedures
  • Costing for Export
  • Revision
  • Guest speaker: Hear from an established exporter about how they manage the document process

About this workshop:

This workshop will cover the following documents:
  • Documents required by Australian Authorities
  • Transport Documents
  • Specialist Documents
  • Commercial Documents
  • Documents required by Importing Countries
This component of the course is intensive, so provides plenty of examples and recommendations on what is required.
Just as important is costing for export, so we will break this down to cover the many costs incurred, best practice to ensure correct quotation moving forward plus definitions, costs associated and things to consider – this workshop also provides a practical exercise to encourage knowledge retention.
And finally, we have invited an experience exporter to join us and discuss what advice they can provide when it comes to managing the document process and mistakes to look out for in your business. There will be plenty of time for questions and don’t forget to bring along any documents that are relevant to your business!
COST: $275 (incl GST)
Date: Wednesday 18 November
Time: 9am – 11.30am (2.5 hours)

International Payment Documentation & Risk Management

Topics covered:

  • International payment documentation (includes lesson on letters of credit)
  • Risk Management
  • Revision
  • Guest speaker: Learn top tips from a banking specialist

About this workshop:

One of the most asked about questions is how to make sure you get paid – and so it should be! Today’s payment workshop is combined with risk management making it a must for all exporters – with only 12 spots available this will fill up fast.
Understanding what methods of payment are available to you is vital to the success of any business, therefore the following four methods of collecting payment will be explained in full:
  • Prepayment
  • Open Account
  • Documentary Collection (sight or term)
  • Documentary Letter of Credit (DC)
We’ll also discuss what risk is involved across international payment and logistics, so learners gain confidence and know what to look out for when supporting theses areas of the business.
To help gain a different perspective and ensure you’re across these areas will be zooming in and international trade bank specialist to discuss latest trends and answer any questions you may have about these areas. Its important that you bring along any questions you have about your business as this is the chance to discuss possible outcomes with industry specialists.
COST: $275 (incl GST)Date: Thursday 19 November 2020
Time: 9am – 11.30am (2.5 hours)

Workshop presenter: About Nick Alford

Nick is the Principal of Labyrinth Maven – “Defining, Designing, Connecting & Delivering the future for organisations” – with over 30 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions; strategic planning and execution; logistics; mentoring, coaching, facilitation; curricula development; international business assistance; systems development; and training and assessment.
After studying Economics Nick began working as a geoscientist in the mineral exploration industry where he gained a diverse and valuable range of business experiences. From geophysics through to manufacturing, retail and wholesaling, and to professional services industries, Nick has cultivated a career in management, working his way through the sales and operations areas of a variety of small and large organisations.
His roles included complex data analysis and systems development, warehouse distribution systems and facilities development, training and management of operations, import and export development. This hands-on operational management experience is the key to Nick’s understandings of the productivity and growth issues facing organisations seeking international competitiveness today.
Specialties include international trade development and assistance; organisational restructuring and review; mentoring and coaching senior executives; leadership development; business intelligence; facilitation; scenario planning and delivery; capability vs capacity identification; and local and international market Identification.

Who should attend:

This practical workshop is tailored specifically to companies wanting to upskill their team in export
documentation requirements. Attend only the workshops that are of interest to you all attend all three. Attendees will gain hands-on experience in preparing export documentation.

Workshop materials:

All participants will receive:
  • Complete workshop booklet, including examples of documentation (soft copy)
  • Certificate of completion
During the workshop, companies will also have an opportunity to bring their own documentation along. There will be time allocated to go through your documentation with our documentation expert!
For more information contact:

DPU – Delivered At Place Unloaded – Incoterms® 2020 Rule

DPU - Delivered At Place Unloaded - Incoterms® 2020 Rule

Article 9 in our series of Incoterms® 2020 – In each article we will identify the responsibilities of the seller and buyer in the transaction at different points in the shipping journey.

What are Incoterms used for?

Incoterms® are primarily used for determining how the sale of equipment for delivery across international boundaries will be handled and who will pay for what in the transaction. They will not address the consequences of a breach of contract or exemptions of liability. Incoterms® relate to the terms between the exporter and importer.
Incoterms® cover the following broad points
Delivery – Incoterms® 2020 specify when seller delivers to buyer:
Risk – Incoterms® 2020 specify when risk transfers from seller to buyer. Risk passes from seller to buyer when seller has fulfilled his obligation to deliver the goods
Costs – Responsibility of costs passes from seller to buyer at a point up to which the seller is obliged to pay transport (and insurance) costs

Our next Incoterm® is DPU: Delivered At Place Unloaded – Incoterms® 2020 Rule

The seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named place of destination.

The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the named place of destination.

Delivered at Place Unloaded (DPU) (formerly referred to as DAT for “Delivered at Terminal”) requires the seller to deliver the goods at the disposal of the buyer after they’ve been unloaded from the arriving means of transport.

DPU is the only Incoterms rule that requires the seller to unload goods at the place of destination.

DPU can apply to any—and more than one—mode of transport. The buyer and seller should specify and agree upon a named place of destination.

DPU requires the seller to clear goods for export, where applicable, without any obligation to clear the goods for import, pay import duty or carry out import customs formalities.

Quick overview

What are the seller’s obligations?

1. General: The seller must deliver the goods, commercial invoice, and any evidence of conformity.
2. Delivery: Deliver the goods at the disposal of the buyer, unloaded. On the agreed date or period.
3. Risks: All risk of loss/damage until goods have been delivered.
4. Carriage: Contract carriage of goods until the place of destination.
5. Insurance: No obligation.
6. Delivery/transport document: Provide documents that allow the buyer to take over the goods.
7. Export/Import clearance: All export clearance expenses (license, security, inspection, etc). Assist with import clearance
8. Checking: The seller must check, count, weight, mark, and package goods
9. Allocation of cost: Pay all the cost until delivery. Transport and loading. Unloading charges. Transit costs. Cost of delivery/transport document. Duties and taxes for export. All costs related to providing assistance in obtaining documents to the buyer.
10. Notices: Give the notice to receive the goods.

What are the buyer’s obligations?

1. General: The buyer must pay the price of goods as agreed.
2. Taking Delivery: The buyer takes the goods at the destination point.
3. Risks: All risk of loss/damage from the time or end of the period agreed for delivery. If the buyer fails to clear import customs or notify time/period, the risk is under the buyer.
4. Carriage: No obligation to contract a carrier.
5. Insurance: No obligation to insure the goods.
6. Delivery/transport document: Accepts the proof of delivery
7. Export/Import clearance: Assist with export clearance. Pay for import clearance and formalities (licenses, security, official documentation).
8. Checking: No obligation.
9. Allocation of cost: Pay from the time goods delivered. All costs for assistance. Pay duties and taxes for imports. Any additional cost if does not notify the shipment date or period.
10. Notices: Time or period for receiving the goods and name the point of receiving the goods.

Important points to note

DPU Incoterm can be used for any mode of transport as well as for multimodal transport.

New Incoterm® DPU Replaces DAT.

The previous Incoterm® DAT (Delivered at Terminal) is now called DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded. It was decided to change the term to DPU to remove confusion that arose in the past. In the past, DAT required ‘Delivery at Terminal (unloaded)’, however the word “terminal” caused confusion. The new term DPU (Delivery at Place Unloaded) covers ‘any place, whether covered or not’.

Buyer is responsible for import clearance and formalities (licenses, security, official documentation) including payment of duties and taxes if applicable unless otherwise agreed differently between seller and buyer.

Whilst there is no obligation for seller to insure the goods it is recommended that whilst under the seller’s responsibility and control that insurance cover is taken out.

The seller must be confident to arrange the unloading of goods at the named place.

Interested in learning more about Incoterms® 2020 Rules? Let us know at

ECA featured Member: Aglive

ECA featured Member: Aglive

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on global supply chains that will be felt for years to come. Where price and speed were once defining factors in global trade, the focus has shifted to the safety, traceability, and provenance of products as they move around the world.

The Aglive Paddock-to-Plate platform, which is backed by the security and immutability of blockchain technology, connects data silos that exist along our supply chains.Our platform connects farmers, producers, manufacturers, exporters, importers, consumers and secures the many complex webs of information into a more manageable and understandable system that provides more accountability and transparency.

Aglive is a solution to many of the issues facing our food system that can cause or worsen crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, making our technology more important than ever.

Aglive team has been very fortunate to be able to function well in a remote environment and the increased interest in food safety and traceability has kept our team busy through the pandemic. Although they have not been able to work together in their Australian offices, their team has grown in numbers and been strengthened by exciting new implementations and opportunities to improve food provenance in Australia and around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on the weaknesses within our supply chains and highlighted the need for greater collaboration and interoperability. In Australia, we are lucky enough to produce an abundance of high quality produce that we can export around the globe. Foreign markets that rely on imports are now looking to the safety and provenance of the products they are importing, which is where Australian technology like Aglive’s paddock-to-plate platform shines bright.

The world is now looking at the safety and viability of our supply chains and Aglive is excited to be at the forefront of this new era in product provenance and traceability solutions.

Aglive Group Limited is an Australian company that has developed an industry-first paddock-to-plate solution backed by blockchain data storage and encrypted security.

Relaxation of conditions for the import of Onions into India

Relaxation of conditions for the import of Onions into India

High Commission of India, Canberra, announces the relaxation of conditions for the import of Onions into India. India has been decided to allow relaxation from the condition of fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate as per the Plant Quarantine Order 2003, for imports up to 15 December 2020 on the following conditions:

i. Such consignments of imported onions which arrive in Indian ports without fumigation and endorsement to that effect on the PSC, would be fumigated in India by the importer through an accredited treatment provider. The consignment would be inspected thoroughly by quarantine officials and released only if found free from pests and diseases of concern to India;
ii. Relax the requirement of endorsement of Additional Declaration in the Phytosanitary Certificate;
iii. During the inspection, if Smut (Urocystis cepulae) or dry rot (Embellisio allii) is intercepted, the particular container to be rejected and deported;
iv. If stem and bulbs nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) or Onion maggot (Hylemia antiqua) is detected, these should be eliminated through fumigation and the consignments to be released with no additional inspection fee;
v. An undertaking to be obtained from the importers that the Onions will be used only for consumption and not for propagation;
vi. Such consignments of onions for consumption will not be subjected to the four times additional inspection fees on account of non-compliance of conditions of import under PQ order, 2003.