Simplifying the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme will be simplified and reoriented from a scheme which provides assistance by reimbursing exporters after they’ve spent money on eligible marketing and promotion to a more traditional grants program with an upfront grant agreement over two years (for those new to export) or up to three years (for those growing or making a strategic shift). This will give eligible exporters funding certainty before they embark on their marketing and promotion activities.

The reoriented EMDG program will maintain features valued by SME exporters and industry bodies, while making it simpler to access and providing funding certainty.

Draft EMDG Rules 2020 are now available for public consultation

As part of the reforms to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme, we are seeking your feedback on the draft EMDG Rules 2020 (PDF 348KB). We want to make sure the new EMDG program works for you and your business, and helps you succeed in overseas markets. We welcome your comments on any of the proposed changes.

The EMDG Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (PDF 550KB) and the draft EMDG Rules 2020 (PDF 348KB) create the framework for the operation of the new EMDG program. The Administrative Guidelines are still being developed and will answer questions about how you do things, like how you apply, what you will need to show us, and how to get milestone payments. The Administrative Guidelines will be released for public consultation and feedback in the new year.

This Quick Reference Guide: What do the new EMDG Rules mean for me? (PDF 342KB) might help you understand these changes. The Recommendations of the Review into Financial Assistance to SME Exporters – which forms the basis of these reforms – will provide you with further background.

We are seeking to simplify the EMDG program, including the language in the Rules. You may wish to consider the following questions in your response:

  • Eligible products in the draft Rules are intended to reflect the current eligible products. Do you see any scope for simplifying those sections?
  • Eligible products must be of substantially Australian origin. For those engaged with software, does the definition of software define your products accurately?
  • Under Australia’s international trade obligations, your eligible expenses must be strictly confined to marketing and promotion of your product. Does the definition of eligible expenses encompass all the expenses you think you might have when you market or promote your product?
  • For representative bodies there has been substantial change. Does the definition of a representative body meet your needs?
  • For representative bodies, the draft Rules will establish a maximum time frame for your grant agreements. The suggested time frame is three years, but we are keen to understand whether that time frame accords with your business operations.

We welcome your feedback

Submissions and feedback on the EMDG Rules can be sent to Austrade’s dedicated mailbox: EMDGReform@austrade.gov.au by Friday, 18 December 2020.

Support for exporters

In the reoriented EMDG program, multi-year grants will be available for eligible SMEs at three stages of their export journey:

  • Tier 1 grants: eligible SMEs who are new to export will be able to access grants of up to $80,000 over two years
  • Tier 2 grants: eligible SME exporters who are seeking to grow or expand will be will be able to access grants of up to $240,000 over three years
  • Tier 3 grants: eligible SME exporters who are seeking to make a strategic shift will be able to access grants of up to $450,000 over three years

To be eligible for the EMDG program, SMEs will need to be export-ready and have a turnover of less than $20 million.

Unlike the current reimbursement scheme which saw exporters waiting up to two years for payments, eligible SMEs will be able to get upfront funding certainty over multiple years for eligible marketing and promotional activities.

Assistance for industry bodies and alliances

Assistance to industry bodies and alliances will be expanded to provide help for members who are new to export to become export-ready.

Industry bodies and alliances will continue to have access to financial assistance to enable them to undertake promotional activities on behalf of their members in international markets.

Grants will be for up to $150,000 per year.

What is the status of the EMDG scheme for financial year 2020-21?

Current EMDG arrangements remain in place this financial year.

Reform process

The Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 will be amended to give effect to these changes. Key principles will be retained in the legislation, while the rules and administration of the program will be moved into subordinate legislation and guidelines, simplifying scheme administration.

We will consult with stakeholders on the scheme rules and design of the program.

Review of financial assistance to SME exporters

The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, has released the independent review of financial assistance to SME exporters.

For more information about the Review of financial assistance to SME exporters, please visit: