Many of you would be aware of the excellent work of the Export Council of Australia ("ECA") ( which is the peak body for exporters in Australia with a special focus for SME exporters.  The range of activities of the ECA covers education, research, Government relations, advocacy and work with relevant Government agencies.  In doing so, the ECA works directly with the Federal Government and its agencies such as DFAT, Austrade and Efic as well as State Government agencies responsible for trade.

The work includes membership of relevant advisory groups such as the Industry Advisory Group for the Trusted Trader Programme which is currently working hard to assist in the development of that Programme according to the ambitious timetables set by Government.

The work also cover import and supply chain issues as many Australian exports require the inclusion of imported components.

I am a member of the Board of Directors of the ECA and am the Chair of the Trade Policy Committee of the Board which deals with a large amount of the work conducted by the ECA together with associated engagement in the policy area through submissions to DFAT on FTA and other international agreements, together with submissions to Parliamentary Inquiries conducted by State and Federal Governments.

One of the prominent pieces of work of the ECA is the development of its Trade Policy Recommendations.  The first set were released last year in advance of the Federal election and were well received by those in Government and Industry with the incoming Government adopting a number of initiatives which coincided with those included in the Recommendations.

The ECA has been working hard for some time to develop the new set of recommendations for 2014/15 (also known as Trade Policy Recommendations 2.0).  This included research, extensive consultation with industry, importers, exporters, other associations and Government agencies.  Its with some pleasure (and relief) that I can now announce that the new Recommendations have been released today.

The media release regarding the new Recommendations can be found here and the actual Recommendations themselves can be found here.  As can be seen, the Recommendations are extensive and will be supported by current research being undertaken by the ECA.  The Recommendations cover Trade Facilitation, development of Infrastructure, Trade Policy on FTAs and improving the market conditions for de – regulation, competitiveness and investment.