Kelly O’Dwyer announced the Asialink Business starter packs at a business forum in Melbourne last week, recognising that small businesses in Australia can benefit by expanding into the Asian market ahead of the impending China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) being passed.

“The Coalition Government recognises that many Australian businesses are actively seeking help to overcome challenges they face to do business in Asia. I am confident that the Asialink Business Country Starter Packs will be a valuable tool for small businesses looking to engage,” she said.

The packs aim to provide businesses of all sizes the keys to unlock opportunities in the fastest growing markets in the Asian region.

Brian Beecroft, chief executive office of the Timber Trade Industrial Association, said he was greatly encouraged by the initiative.

“The quality of our local product is well know in our region, from Australian hardwood flooring, quality furniture, and our durable building timber products and components. We have incredible export potential in the dynamic Asian region, and while it is close in geographic terms, the layers of government, cultural differences, language, relevant contacts, and laws can understandably become a barrier to many small to medium sized businesses who have – so far – only focussed on the domestic Australian market.

Mukund Narayanamurti, Asialink Business’s chief executive officer, said the packs were practical guides for navigating Asia’s diverse commercial environments.

“Around Australia, businesses of all sizes told us they recognise the potential in Asia, and are optimistic about the doors opened by the ChAFTA and other free trade agreements – but they want a practical tool to help translate these opportunities into reality,” he said.

The packs feature case studies, up-to-date market insights, and first-hand examples to assist businesses in all sectors (including the timber industry) of the economy.

The packs also provide a roadmap to navigate Asia’s commercial environments, and highlight opportunities in specific sectors, markets and economies.

Developed with support from the Commonwealth Government, the Country Starter Packs are available in hard and soft copy formats and as a shareable app.

A 2014 survey by Asialink Business identified a lack of readily available, practical information on Asian markets as a key factor holding back many Australian businesses.

“The ChAFTA, which we hope to see ratified soon, has increased the urgency for Australian business to do its homework and get prepared. This agreement has created an unprecedented window for Australia to grow, create jobs, and diversify its economy,” Mr Narayanamurti said.

More information about the Asialink Country Starter Packs are available online.