The Australian Government has launched a strategy to deepen economic relationships with Southeast Asia  

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The Australian Government has launched an ambitious strategy to deepen economic relationships with Southeast Asia, which is partly aimed at benefiting smaller and mid-sized firms by helping to open trade and investment channels they can use.


The big stat

If two-way trade continued to grow at around the 20-year rate of 5.5 per cent, total trade would be around A$465 billion in 2040, an increase of A$287 billion on current levels. But if trade growth could be boosted to 6.3 per cent, total trade would triple by 2040.

What is Australia introducing to help SMEs crack Southeast Asia?  

  • Investment Deal Teams, combining private sector and government capabilities, are being put together to facilitate commercial projects.
  • Launching regional ‘Landing Pads’ in Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City to provide on-the-ground support for Australian businesses to boost technology services exports to Southeast Asian markets.
  • The Southeast Asia Business Exchange Program will include a pilot exchange program for young professionals which aims to build lasting business relationships.


What can SMEs do to tap into some of these initiatives? 

There is a well of opportunity for SMEs who want to dive in to Southeast Asia. Take a bit of time to work out what strategy is best for you.

  • Keep up to date with the latest developments. Understand the specific areas of focus, such as digital innovation, sustainable practices, or trade facilitation to help align your business strategy.
  • Knowledge is power: participate in workshops, and seminars related to the ASEAN 2040 strategy.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with businesses in other ASEAN countries. Cross-border partnerships help expand your market reach, access new customer bases and regional supply chains.
  • The ASEAN 2040 strategy emphasises the importance of digital transformation and innovation. Consider investing in new tech and innovative practices to stay competitive. Find out if the government may help.
  • Look out for funding opportunities, grants, and financial support schemes provided under the ASEAN 2040 strategy to help expand your operations.
  • Digital marketplaces are the most cost-effective channels to reach broader audiences. Make sure you are set up with digital platforms and e-commerce to access new markets within the ASEAN region.

This is a five-part series looking at the opportunities for businesses across the Australia – Southeast Asia corridor. The insights are powered by Via Group: a communications agency focused on supporting international businesses with their cross-border communications needs across Asia. You can check them out at


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