International affairs

Outbound investment

CEDA released a research report on 27 April 2017 that examines Australia’s outbound investment. The report assesses whether Australia has the right institutional setting to support an outbound focus for business, and discuss case studies of successful foreign investments by Australian businesses.


Read and download report: Outbound investment
Read media release: Brexit and Trump mean opportunities for Australia lie in Asia

For 200 years Australia has utilised foreign investment to develop its economic potential. However, as a mature economy, and with the end of the mining boom, outbound business investment will play an increasingly important role in the nation’s economic growth.

While there is considerable interest about inbound investment into Australia, the nature of the country’s outbound investment has received less attention. However, Australian businesses investment abroad can benefit these companies by exposing them to international markets, create high skilled jobs in Australia, integrate Australia in global value chains and increase the nation’s engagement with the region, contributing to economic growth.

With global economic growth increasingly being generated by developing economies, and the IMF describing the anaemic economic growth in the developed world as ‘the new mediocre,’ the importance of Asia’s economies has never been greater.

Internationalisation, through investment in offshore facilities, has received domestic criticism for shifting operational jobs out of Australia. However, such a shift could be vital for preserving remaining jobs and creating new roles in the domestic economy; and may also help companies to develop economies of scale or achieve logistics cost reductions.

This report examines:

  • The importance of ensuring new trade barriers are not put in place due to growing anti-globalisation sentiments, and that Australians understand the benefits locally of outbound investment for our economy;
  • The Australian taxation system and specifically the dividend imputation system and its impact on outbound investment;
  • Ensuring that Australian businesses doing business in Asia have a local presence and contacts;
  • Options for promoting specific export industries;
  • The importance of Austrade and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) in continuing to promote Asia as a primary focus for outbound investment;
  • Investment in chilled and fresh food distribution systems; and
  • Utilising existing human capital in Asia in the form of Australian expatriates.

Chapters and authors

Chapter one: Outbound investment and the macroeconomy

Professor Renée Fry-McKibbin, Professor of Economics, Crawford School of Public Policy; and Associate Dean of Research, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australia National University (ANU)

Chapter two: Institutional settings: adopting an outbound focus

The Hon. Dr Craig Emerson, Managing Director, Craig Emerson Economics; President, Australia China Business Council NSW; Adjunct Professor, Victoria University College of Business; Columnist, The Australian Financial Review; and Council of Economic Policy Member, CEDA   

Chapter three: The Asian Opportunity

Andrew Parker, Partner, PwC   

Chapter four: Integrating Australian agriculture with global value chains

Professor Alice Woodhead, Professor University of Southern Queensland Greg Earl, Contributor, The Interpreter; and Board Member, Australia ASEAN Council; and Dr Shane Zhang, Senior Lecturer, University of Southern Queensland   

Chapter five: De-risking Asia

Megan Mulia, Director, Research and Information, Asialink Business   

Research release events

This report will be launched in Melbourne on 27 April 2017 with events to follow across Australia. 

Sydney | 2 May 2017       Adelaide | 3 May 2017     

Perth | 4 May 2017          

Brisbane | 8 May 2017

Research highlights

On the CEDA blog: Where is the national fix to food fraud? Andrew Parker, Partner, PwC 

Watch the report launch event, held in Melbourne, or read the discussion here: Supply chain on the way out, Dr Craig Emerson


CEDA Research and Policy Committee Chairman, Professor Rodney Maddock discusses opportunities for Australia and the importance of tilting away from our traditional trade partners to ensure economic growth with ABC's Peter Ryan.