eBook launch: Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19

eBook launch: Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19

How did the innovation system respond to COVID-19? The latest publication from the Centre for Economic Policy Research looks at what happened. The ebook, written in collaboration with the EPO, the USPTO and WIPO, explores how sectors in the innovation ecosystem adjusted.

COVID-19 has caused substantial losses to public health and prompted major economic changes worldwide. The decline in global GDP in 2020 turned out to be the biggest annual decline since WWII (Gopinath 2021, IMF 2021).

Previous crises have shown that innovators, despite their long-term focus, are not immune to short-term disruptions. At the same time, crises can also be a catalyst for innovation, as they alter societies’ immediate and future technological needs.

Our economics team were pleased to contribute a Chapter analysing the growth of innovative activities and IP applications through the COVID-19 shock. Chapter 10 focuses on IP assets used to store and trade value during times of uncertainty, showing how record trade mark applications reflected waves of entrepreneurship in Australia.

It is evident that entrepreneurship in digital and health related technologies is fast growing across countries, fostered by the rapid adoption of new tools, systems and devices by scientists and creative professionals.

It is great to see how this book validates the findings of our 2022 IP Report and places Australia’s story in the global picture. It confirms that the growth in innovation and IP activity across the Australian IP landscape reflects broader patterns of resilience and change within the global economy.

Efforts to streamline trade processes must be redoubled to meet changing global challenges

Efforts to streamline trade processes must be redoubled to meet changing global challenges

The Australian government has strengthened its commitment to streamlining trade with the recent Federal Budget announcement committing a further $267 million to the Simplified Trade System.

The quantum of Australian exports is large and growing. But it hides the on-the-ground reality of Australia’s 57,000 exporters. For many of them, the experience of exporting is often daunting.

At present, the regulations that impact cross-border goods are administered by a multitude of Commonwealth government agencies. Consequently, exporters have to meet a multitude of requirements, including the same trade data from different agencies.

Our exporting counterparts across the OECD take an average of just four hours to complete documentations for a trade transaction, while Australian exporters slog away for seven.

The World Bank reports that we also face much higher compliance costs. Here in Australia, it costs $354 (2019) to prepare a set of shipping documents, 86% higher than the costs of our OECD counterparts.

We back ourselves to take on the world, but we’re ranked 106th when it comes to getting our goods across Australia’s borders.

This year’s budget announcements suggest an amplification of efforts to create a seamless, efficient modern trade system. This digitalisation can bring Australian trade up to the standards already enjoyed by exporters in hundreds of other countries.

NZIER, a well-respected economic think-tank, suggests that digitalisation of cross-border trade compliance has the potential to fundamentally change how trade is conducted. They estimate that the benefits for economies in the Asia-Pacific region would be between US$8–17 billion over ten years.

Digital trade facilitation is predicted to offer the following benefits:

  • Productivity gains – These include ‘one off’ productivity gains from moving away from paper-based systems, ongoing benefits as resources shift from skilled labour-intensive paper systems to more productive activities, and improved ability to innovate.
  • Connectivity gains – Increased ability to trade as barriers are broken down, allowing more trade in old products in old markets, old products in new markets, and new products in new markets.
  • Predictive gains – Digital trade generates a large amount of new product-specific data at a low cost, which can be used to predict product-specific demand and fluctuation in demand, greatly increasing the ability of suppliers to anticipate demand.
  • Visibility and transparency gains – All permissioned parties within the value chain can access one single set of documents (data). This avoids confusion on what trade terms parties agreed upon and clarifies the obligations of each of the parties.
  • Inclusiveness gains – By making it easier to trade, trade barriers are reduced especially for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). This allows more MSMEs to be involved in trade and share in the potential benefits relative to trading exclusively on the domestic market. It may also improve perceptions of trade more generally.

The prospects for Australia having a ‘tell us once’ trade system is extremely encouraging. There are existing technologies out there that can turn this into reality.

TradeWindow, a software company working with 400 leading exporters and freight forwarders in Australasia, has made significant gains in connecting the commercial, logistics, finance and government data silos present in all global supply chains…

The TradeWindow Cube platform has allowed interoperability between the software platforms used by port authorities, ocean carriers, banks, insurance companies and border agencies.

This takes exporters a step closer to realising the vision of end-to-end digital trade facilitation where all parties across the supply chain can work from a single source of truth.

TradeWindow is part of a new generation of solutions, backed by blockchain. It delivers ‘trust’ between parties through a highly secure, encrypted digital platform. This enables trade parties to share data because it is interoperable with other computer systems across the trade ecosystem.  Sharing data from source reduces duplication of effort, minimises errors, streamlines compliance, supports product provenance and accelerates trade.

TradeWindow believes that new technology is only part of the equation to deliver the ‘joined up’ solutions envisaged by the Simplified Trade Taskforce. The company’s Chief Executive Officer AJ Smith says we also need ongoing change management.

“Our trade and logistics sectors are often too busy with the task at hand to investigate ways improve or speed up their processes. Many players remain hooked on legacy systems and a mixed bag of spreadsheets and emails. So, in this regard, it’s also pleasing to see the Federal Government invest in programmes supporting digital literacy and uptake in Australia’s SME segment,” Mr Smith says.

Recent trade agreements include high-level provisions to enable digital trade. However, these provisions often leave the question of ‘how’ this will occur. Two obvious ‘work on’ areas are the need to harmonise data standards between trading nations and the urgent need for the Australian government to adopt two further tenets of the UN Model law underpinning future paperless trade.

Like many other APEC economies, Australia has ratified the model law for Electronic Commerce but has yet to do so for Electronic Signatures and Electronic Transferable Records. This is the trade equivalent of running a marathon with your shoelaces tied together.

Recent events such as Covid 19, geopolitical tensions and conflict in Ukraine have revealed a world where we can no longer take stability and prosperity for granted. Australia needs to find new ways to protect and extend its strategic advantages. Bold steps to simplify the trade system will not just make life better for Australia’s 57,000 exporters, and 380,000 importers – it will enhance Australia’s international competitiveness and help meet gaps in global demand.

About TradeWindow

TradeWindow is an NZX-listed software company that provides digital solutions for exporters, importers, freight forwarders, and customs brokers to drive productivity, increase connectivity, and enhance visibility. TradeWindow’s software solutions integrate to form a cohesive digital trade platform that enables customers to more efficiently run their back-end operations, share information and securely collaborate with a global supply chain made up of customers, ports, terminals, shipping lines, banks, insurance companies, and government authorities.

www.tradewindow.io

A Sydney Start-Up’s journey to global markets

A Sydney Start-Up’s journey to global markets

A homegrown Sydney SME has taken a popular lifestyle brand from local street market beginnings to retail across international markets.

From humble beginnings at an artisanal street market in 2005, Papinelle – an ethically driven Sydney sleepwear start-up – is now a popular fashion and lifestyle brand in Australia and beyond. Founder and CEO Renae James started Papinelle straight out of university at the Paddington Markets in Sydney.

“I specialised in print design and received amazing feedback early on,” shares Renae. “Two years later I opened the Papinelle store on Oxford Street in Sydney where it still proudly stands.”

Dare to dream

Following a successful decade-long journey building the brand in Australia with a series of floral feminine sleepwear, Papinelle decided to test the waters in the U.S. in 2015. Renae noticed that the demand from that market was unexpectedly strong.

“We saw a positive response from new international markets. There was an incredible appetite for loungewear and sleepwear that was not only ethically-produced, but also comfortable and fashionable,” said Renae.

This led Papinelle to open a dedicated Direct to Customer (D2C) website for the U.S.  Selecting a reliable logistics partner is one of the most important decisions an SME has to make –  a vital part of the business’ success.  Papinelle selected FedEx as we were one of the most recognizable household names in that market.

Renae notes that business owners expanding internationally face a new set of rewards and challenges. This is especially true as the logistics landscape becomes increasingly complex, and businesses must find shipping solutions that meet time and safety expectations of international customers – who want to receive their orders quickly and without disruption.

“Papinelle was able to penetrate the U.S. market thanks to the FedEx network, which has particularly strong reach in North America. The ability to deliver to  all zip codes in the U.S. means FedEx can ensure Papinelle’s customers receive their packages in the least amount of time,” said Renae.

Loungewear is the new workwear

Adding to the brand’s success more recently, the global shift to remote work across many industries acted as a tailwind for Papinelle, bringing with it a large opportunity for further growth domestically and globally.

Loungewear sales have grown multi-fold since 2020. In 2021, the global loungewear market is estimated to generate 37.7 billion U.S. dollars in retail sales.

With a global surge in demand for loungewear that is both fashionable and comfortable, Papinelle continues to rely on FedEx to ensure its customers receive their orders seamlessly and efficiently.

Dreams do come true

During the early stages of entering new markets, undisrupted cross border reach is crucial for growing businesses. The extensive network FedEx has helps Papinelle maintain business continuity and achieve seamless delivery experiences across its brick and mortar and online stores.

According to Renae, maintaining desirable customer experience while managing increasing volumes is an important consideration for small business owners operating across international markets.

“Customers expect a better experience than ever when shopping with you, including after they have gone through checkout. The delivery is as much a part of the customer’s experience of your brand, as your digital platforms and shipping options are,” said Renae.

Renae said that access to FedEx® Delivery Manager  has allowed her to focus on running her business, leaving the logistics management to FedEx.

“I’ve found that FedEx® Delivery Manager offers two crucial advantages to our customers: proactive tracking and flexible delivery options,” said Renae. “My customers find it convenient to change their delivery address or specify a new delivery timeframe. They are happy about the visibility they have on their eagerly awaited packages from Papinelle. Overall, this leads to a good customer experience and gives our buyers more reasons to order again from us.”

Renae also notes that another potentially overwhelming aspect of international logistics is complex paperwork.

“We use FedEx® Electronic Trade Documents  which makes completing paperwork for shipping easy. It helps us easily upload our trade documents for clearance and also helps reduce printed copies. We’ve found that it has helped reduce backlogs and costs,” said Renae.

“Our logistics partnership with FedEx has really delivered value for our business and helped us ensure the best experience for our customers, end-to-end.”

As an ally for small and medium businesses, we remain committed to the growth of SMEs.  Enabling SMEs to compete and win in the dynamic e-commerce marketplace is crucial.  Delivering tailored solutions is part of helping small businesses thrive in an ever-changing world. For more information on these solutions, visit our e-commerce page here.

FedEx Express is one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. To learn more, please visit https://www.fedex.com/en-au/about.html

 

 

Visdon: Finding success during a global pandemic

Visdon: Finding success during a global pandemic

About Visdon

Founded in 2018, Visdon provides brain health supplements that are authentic, natural and made in Australia. Their journey started when a group of passionate researchers, pharmacists and health professionals, united in Sydney with a common cause to provide natural supplements to improve cognitive function and boost memory.

Since their formation, Visdon’s growth as a company has been rapid and aligned with an increasingly growing demand for brain support products globally. After starting out as a single warehouse in Sydney, the company has now expanded to Melbourne and Hong Kong, with a fully fledged Marketing and Sales team headquartered in Shanghai, China.

Furthermore, they have partnered with multiple countries for R&D, ensuring the production of world-class products whilst maintaining the highest consumer safety criteria. It is part of the company’s vision to increasingly invest in research and clinical trials for the development of brain health products that benefit humanity.

One of the company’s core values is to support the local Australian economy and help promote Australian-made products on a global level. As a result, Visdon has purposely partnered with manufacturers and researchers that are based in Australia.

Export focus and product distribution

Visdon’s products, such as Rebrain, are primarily focused towards middle aged and senior consumers, although new products are currently in development to also support brain health for pregnant women, adolescents and children.

Visdon has partnered with hundreds of distributors worldwide and has been featured on over 100 popular online platforms in China, such as JingDong (JD).

In Australia, Visdon enjoys broad coverage across major retail pharmacies and online eCommerce platforms. Their products are available in 68 local Australian pharmacies across NSW, VIC, SA, WA and QLD.

Visdon exports their products internationally with their core market focus on Mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea. Since the start of the 2021/2022 financial year, Visdon has exported over 20 different types of natural supplements to multiple overseas distributors. In addition, they are in the process of achieving market penetration in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Finding success during a global pandemic

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, it was a very challenging year for both businesses and consumers. The shutting of borders, pausing of international travel and the occurrence of multiple lockdowns, all contributed to an unprecedented disruption to normal life.

Despite these circumstances, Visdon overcame massive logistical and political challenges that impacted production, supply chain, and retail to successfully launch Rebrain, their flagship product in mid 2020.

The promotion and distribution hurdles brought upon by the pandemic were partly solved by an embracing of digital and eCommerce. As a result, the company partnered with distributors with a strong online presence and obtained listings on reputable eCommerce platforms.

The results have been satisfying for the company with sales revenue growing steadily since Rebrain was launched, corresponding with a target audience that is increasingly becoming more educated and aware of the importance of brain health and preventing the decline of cognitive function and memory loss.

The reception for Visdon has been exceedingly positive and it has won the following prestigious accolades.

– Rebrain won the 2021 NutraIngredients-Asia Award for Product of the Year: Botanical  

– The company won the 2021 Stevie Award for International Business Award

– One of their co-founders, Lara Tang, won the 2021 Stevie Award for Women in Business

To learn more about Visdon, visit their website or follow them on Social (Facebook: VisdonAustralia, Instagram: @visdonaustralia).

Reducing red tape for Australian services exporters

Reducing red tape for Australian services exporters

New rules agreed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) will reduce red tape and regulatory costs for Australian services exporters, making it easier for Australian businesses to export to the world.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan welcomed the agreement which comprises 67 WTO Members – including the 27 EU Member States – accounting for over 90% of global services trade.

“This is a real win for Australian services exporters. We have agreed to cut red tape by reducing complex and costly regulatory burdens in overseas markets,” Mr Tehan said.

“Services is the fastest growing and most dynamic sector in the Australian economy. The rules developed will help Australian services exporters address the practical challenges of operating in other markets.”

“Although a temporary setback, the postponement of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference must steel our resolve and the conclusion of the Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation shows what can be achieved through dialogue and negotiation.

“Led by Australia, Costa Rica and the EU, the Initiative is the culmination of four years of hard work and is open to all WTO Members. I encourage those that are not yet participating to join.”

A joint OECD-WTO study calculated that implementation of these rules could generate annual trade cost savings in the range of USD 150 billion.

The Declaration on the Conclusion of Negotiations on Services Domestic Regulation adopted today is available here: www.wto.org.

THE HON DAN TEHAN MP
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

5 top findings of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 report

5 top findings of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 report

The DHL Export Barometer is an annual report compiled to provide insights about the export business and identify emerging industry trends in Australia. Launched 2003, it produces research specific to Australian exporters, by shedding light on the issues influencing export businesses and highlighting significant shifts within the exportation industry.

Results of the DHL Export Barometer 2021 reveal a strong recovery in Australian exports this year. A majority of Australian businesses are positive that the global export market will continue to recover next year.

More than 1,400 businesses from the DHL Express and the Export Council of Australia databases were surveyed by ACA Research in September 2021. These businesses – located across the country from New South Wales to Tasmania to Western Australia – provide an accurate representation of Australia’s exportation industry sentiments and insights for 2022.

 

  1. Businesses reveal an optimistic outlook for 2022

Last year, COVID-19 battered Australia’s export industry, with 47% of exporters believing that export revenue was unlikely to increase in the following months – the lowest since the survey was first conducted 18 years ago. However, as Australian businesses project into the new year, they are positive that the export logistics industry is on the road to recovery. 59% are optimistic that by the end of 2022, export revenue will return to pre-pandemic levels. This is signalled by:

  • An increase in customer demand
  • Sales and marketing ventures
  • Launch of new products and services
  • Hiring of new employees
  • Wage increases

“Australian businesses have remained steadfast, and it is positive to see more businesses in 2021 reporting growth and 69% expecting further increases in 2022,” Gary Edstein, CEO and Senior Vice President, DHL Express Australia, summarises.

 

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on export revenue lessens

Generally, businesses have reported to have done better in 2021 than during the height of the pandemic last year – with 17% more businesses enjoying growth in export orders and a third, an increase in revenue.

COVID-19 continued to affect the performance of businesses, with export orders and revenue numbers still less than what it was pre-pandemic. Although this is so, the proportion of businesses reporting a decline due to the pandemic was less this year than it was in 2020 (48% in 2021, compared to 57% in 2020).

 

  1. Export challenges for businesses remain due to COVID-19

Corporations continue to face an uphill battle, needing to deal with problems that have arisen due to COVID-19 – making recovery complex and difficult. These were attributed to an increase in freight cost (65%), decreased supply of products or raw materials (43%) and international travel restrictions (43%).

 

  1. More businesses focus on exporting to North America

On the whole this year, businesses were more judicious in their world trade – choosing to target fewer foreign markets for their export activities. The most popular export market was New Zealand, targeted by 58% of businesses, followed by North America, Europe and the UK.

Although New Zealand remains the most common export destination, more companies chose North America as their main export destination this year, with 27% of businesses prioritising the continent, compared to New Zealand’s 25%. This knocks New Zealand off the top spot, a position they have held for several years.

 

  1. More exporters use e-commerce to generate orders

COVID-19 has also caused major shifts in working arrangements and lifestyle choices in 2021. Remote work and increased online shopping has resulted in 82% of export businesses incorporating e-commerce solutions to shore up their sales orders. This is a significant increase of 8% from the previous year.

Channelling efforts into innovative strategies to increase brand awareness or enhance the customer journey has proven to be rewarding. In 2021, enterprises that engaged in novel tactics like these reported a growth in revenue. A significant proportion of Australian export firms continue to prioritise investing in digital efforts, with 40% of businesses doing so in online marketing and 34% in website design.

 

A promising 2022 for Australian export businesses

Although the pandemic’s effects are still felt as businesses continue to grapple with the aftermath, many are optimistic that the global export market is set to grow next year. With the support of a robust export logistics network, businesses can look forward to steady recovery and growth in 2022. View the full DHL Export Barometer 2021 report online.

Exporters views sought on Export Control Rules 2021

Exporters views sought on Export Control Rules 2021

Public consultation is now open on proposed amendments to the Export Control Rules 2021.

Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, David Hazlehurst said the consultation was part of a six-month review into the new legal framework for agricultural exports.

“Earlier this year we introduced a new legal system for agricultural exports, the Export Control Act 2020 and the Export Control Rules 2021,” Mr Hazlehurst said.

“We’ve reviewed the rules to make sure everything is working as intended, and now we’re considering some refinements.

“Most of the proposed changes are minor, with some more substantial amendments to the rules for Meat and Plant exports.

“We want to modernise our export regulation, making it easier for exporters to comply, while protecting Australia’s reputation as a world leader in trade and continuing to comply with importing country requirements.

“And the best way we can achieve this is through feedback from the frontline.

“If you’re a farmer, primary producer, an exporter, or someone who works in agricultural exports, we want to hear from you.”

You can find out more about these changes and provide feedback by visiting the department’s Have Your Say platform. Consultation closes on 30 November 2021.

Fast Facts

  • The new legal framework for agricultural exports, the Export Control Act 2020 and the Export Control Rules 2021 (the Rules) began on 28 March 2021.
  • Amendments are proposed to the rules for meat, wild game, poultry, rabbit and ratite, plant, organic goods and animals.
  • The changes to the Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Rules 2021 will give effect to an approach agreed with industry where meat inspection activities will be delivered by Food Safety Meat Assessors only where it is required by an importing country.
  • The changes to the Export Control (Plant and Plant Products) Rules 2021 will improve regulatory arrangements for inspecting vessels exporting Australian grain.
  • No amendments are proposed to the rules for eggs, fish, milk, wood and miscellaneous.

Call for submissions for the Australia-Singapore Green Economy Agreement 

Call for submissions for the Australia-Singapore Green Economy Agreement 

On 10 June 2021, Prime Minister Morrison and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee agreed to explore a Green Economy Agreement (GEA) between the two countries. The GEA would facilitate trade and investment in environmental goods and services, strengthen environmental governance, and contribute efforts to build global capacity to address climate change.

The GEA has the potential to unlock exciting new opportunities for Australia’s clean energy export sector and to enhance investment and trade in environmental goods and services.  It can help build new capacities to address climate change, whilst supporting economic growth and job creation in green sectors.  The GEA will support our transition to a new energy economy and drive new investments, including in hydrogen.

Australia and Singapore are like-minded countries that strongly support a rules-based system in promoting open markets and free trade, which continue to be critical at a time of increasing economic uncertainty. We envisage that the GEA will be practical, ambitious, and innovative, reduce barriers to trade and enable technologies to catalyse business and commercial opportunities.

During the 12th meeting of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee  on 27 August 2021, Ministers agreed to establish a Joint GEA Working Group with a view to launching formal GEA negotiations by 1 October 2021. Negotiations between Australia and Singapore on the GEA commenced on 22 September 2021.

Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong met on 11 October 2021 to take stock of negotiations on the GEA. They released a joint Vision Statement which outlines a shared ambition for the GEA.

The GEA was promoted at the Australian pavilion at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.

Submissions

To assist the Australian Government in negotiations with Singapore on the GEA, DFAT would be interested to hear from stakeholders including industry organisations, businesses and community organisations. They will be undertaking targeted consultations but also welcome written submissions from any interested stakeholders — which can be sent to AustSingGEA@dfat.gov.au.

In particular they would be interested to hear from you regarding:

  • How a GEA could boost Australian two-way trade and investment in clean energy, and environmental goods and services exports.
  • Any trade and investment barriers (especially Non-Tariff Barriers) that are impacting the ability to undertake trade of environmental goods and services with Singapore.
  • Any suggested changes to, or opportunities for, policy or regulatory settings that could encourage improved collaboration in the clean energy, and green economy sectors.
  • How a GEA with Singapore could assist Australia’s low emissions technology pathway including for priority technologies (clean hydrogen, low emissions steel and aluminium, energy storage, carbon capture and storage and soil carbon measurement), and in enabling technologies and associated services.
  • Opportunities and challenges to access, or improve access, to green or sustainable finance, or to identify and advance finance options and investor partnerships with Singapore.
  • Opportunities and challenges in advancing cooperation on voluntary carbon markets with Singapore and for the South East Asian region.

Submissions will be treated as public and may be published on this website, unless the author specifically requests that the submission, or part thereof, be handled in confidence.

The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2021.

Exporting tyres? You are going to need a licence

Exporting tyres? You are going to need a licence

Australia’s ban on the export of whole baled waste tyres begins on 1 December and exporters requiring a licence to continue to export tyres overseas are encouraged to apply now.

From December 1, the export of waste tyres is banned except for:

  • tyres that have been processed into crumbs, buffings, granules or shreds
  • tyres that have been processed into fuel
  • tyres exported for re-treading
  • tyres that will be re-used on vehicles overseas.

Acting Deputy Secretary, Environment Reforms, James Tregurtha, said that these types of tyres can be exported, but only when exporters are able to satisfy the requirements of the new regulation.

“The Department does have strict criteria that apply to every export licence.

“When tyres are exported for re-treading or reuse, suppliers must have evidence of a commercial relationship with an importer or with a verified re-treading facility.

“All exporters must also pass a fit and proper person test and declare each consignment to the Department and Australian Border Force,” Mr Tregurtha said.

Australia’s waste export ban is world-leading with Australia the only country to have banned the export of its unprocessed waste.

From 1 December whole-baled tyres will no longer be able to be exported from Australia.

Australia has already banned the export of unprocessed glass and mixed plastics.

The ban on tyres starts on December 1, with unprocessed single polymer plastics to be banned from 1 July 2022; and paper and cardboard banned from 1 July 2024.

Exporters wishing to apply for a licence should go to https://rawr.awe.gov.au/