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A Charter: Promoting the Economic Interests of Indigenous Australian Businesses Overseas

'Effective economic diplomacy requires a 'Team Australia' approach to international engagement. Access to international opportunities for Indigenous businesses are enhanced through inclusive, coordinated and outcomes-focused initiatives.'

Promoting the Economic Interests of Indigenous Australian Businesses Overseas: A Charter, DFAT 2015

At the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade, we understand the enormous contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make to modern Australian society. Along with our portfolio agencies, Tourism Australia, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, we work together to promote and support Indigenous Australian businesses engaging in international trade.

Our Charter, Promoting the Economic Interests of Indigenous Australian Businesses Overseas, outlines the range of services that our portfolio delivers to Indigenous businesses. The activities we undertake range from practical advice in the form of capacity and awareness-building, through to government-to-government advocacy.

A core element of our work is assisting Indigenous Australian businesses to identify and access new markets. Austrade, as the federal government's trade and investment promotion agency, assists Australian firms to learn about and access international markets through its domestic and extensive global network of offices.

Austrade also works closely with other organisations to assist Indigenous businesses to succeed in export, and offers a financial assistance program for aspiring exporters called the Export Market Development Grants scheme that covers up to 50 per cent of eligible marketing and promotion expenditure.

By tapping into Austrade's activities and networks, Indigenous businesses can access the knowledge, expertise, support and contacts required to prepare to begin exporting or to expand into a new market for the first time.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade makes sure our consultations on relevant trade and investment issues involve Indigenous businesses. These include invitations to attend regular industry trade briefings, particularly in relation to negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) we are pursuing.

Some FTAs include provisions of specific interest to Indigenous peoples, such as intellectual property-related aspects of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

Many of our FTAs also include commitments relating to government procurement policies. For example, a specific exemption negotiated as part of our FTAs allows the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy to mandate Indigenous-owned business participation in certain tenders, or set participation targets. These exemptions do not contravene Australia's general obligation not to discriminate against foreign suppliers.

In undertaking consultations and making these commitments, we ensure that policies for the economic and social advancement, and health and welfare of Indigenous peoples are considered.

Advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Australian businesses takes place at all levels of government. We advocate through international visits by Australian ministers and senior officials, and at international and multilateral fora. We also deliver support for Indigenous Australian businesses in their engagement with foreign governments.

The 'Team Australia' approach across the portfolio reflects the Australian Government's commitment to expanding the share of Indigenous Australian businesses engaged in international trade and generating economic benefits for our communities.

The Charter is available on the DFAT website:

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio and Responsibilities

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) manages Australia's overall international engagement through Australia's bilateral, regional and multilateral relationships, including trade and investment negotiations and aid programs.

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) assists Australian business by matching Australian capability with overseas demand and identifying new commercial opportunities. Austrade also leads on investment promotion, attraction and facilitation.

Tourism Australia leads on promotion of Australia as a tourist destination.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) supports Australian businesses who are active internationally through specialist finance solutions.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) builds Australia's international agricultural research collaboration.

Last Updated: 10 January 2019
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