Trade your way to success in the USA

Understanding the business culture in the United States and avoiding approaching it as a single consumer market increases Australians’ chances of business success in the world’s largest economy, according to a new guide launched today by Austrade.

With more than $41 billion in two-way trade, Australia and the US have a strong and long-term commercial relationship. The US is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner and is a valuable market for Australian businesses looking to expand internationally.

Australian businesses are increasingly looking to the United States to do business with Austrade assisting 30 per cent more businesses achieve export sales in the US in 2005-06 than the previous year, with the value of these deals growing by more than 60 per cent.

The new guide, Doing business in the United States, will help Australian businesses better understand US business culture and its vast consumer market and provide valuable guidance on how to negotiate deals, develop long-term business relationships and navigate the regulatory and legal environment. (The guide is available at

David Howard, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in New York, said that despite Americans and Australians appearing similar in language and culture, the two countries are actually quite different, making it vital for Australian businesses to research and understand the US market. "The US is actually made up of hundreds of different geographic and demographic consumer markets, many with distinct tastes, purchasing behaviours, distribution systems, regulations and climates. Seven US states have economies larger than Australia and California alone produces as many goods and services in six months as Australia does in one year."

"The majority of the 8,000-plus Australian companies selling or operating in the US are small operations that often have only a handful of employees and a limited budget. The key to success is not being large but having a strong product or service offering and being able to clearly articulate your competitive advantage."

"This guide provides practical information and advice that Australian businesses should consider when developing these business opportunities in the United States," Mr Howard said.

The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) has played an important role in drawing US attention towards Australia as an innovative and significant global partner. The AUSFTA has increased access to the US market by reducing tariffs, increasing quotas, strengthening intellectual property protection and opening two-way investment.

Since the introduction of the AUSFTA, the Government has expanded Austrade’s network devoted to the US market. Austrade now provides extensive support for Australian exporters in the US market with representation in 19 US cities, seven specialist industry teams and a dedicated network of US Export Advisers around Australia.