6 October 2021

Key insights

Canada – Borders remain closed to most travelers. Essential travel for Canadian and US citizens is permitted, and this includes trade shipments via rail and truck, people carrying out essential work, immediate family, students, and those needing to travel on compassionate grounds. Exempt travelers must still self-quarantine for 14 days. Australians are allowed to transit through the US from Canada if they have a valid airline ticket to Australia.

US – The US will ease travel restrictions in November for international visitors who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Foreign travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding and a negative coronavirus test within three days of coming to the United States. The halt to the 18-month ban on travel from 33 countries, including members of the European Union, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and India, could help rejuvenate the US tourism industry that has been crippled by the pandemic.

Market opportunities

Food & Agri

US – There is a move to provide virtual re-marking trade services for Australian meat exporters. This service is required when the United States Department of Agriculture refuses product entry owing to missing, incorrect, or incomplete shipping marks. Virtual re-marking provides a significant cost savings to Australian meat producers.

Defence

Canada – Australia is seen as having a strong competitive advantage for the roll out of drone-based services, because of our regulatory environment. A Canadian company recently tested its drone systems by using them to deliver masks and sanitiser to remote indigenous communities in Canada. A number of companies are looking at potential pilot projects in Australia to prove commercial viability.

US – The US defence market remains the largest in the world. Opportunities are increasing for Australian companies, in areas like AI, surveillance and C2 for non-traditional defence companies. New avenues for exporters are emerging, including via the Defense Innovation Unit.

US – The National Defense Industrial Association’s second annual Vital Signs report on the health of the US defense industrial base was released on February 2. For the second year in a row, the defense industrial base is reported to be on negative trajectory and facing significant challenges. These include industrial security and supply chain problems. Further consolidation is expected as contractors look to bolster their business portfolios and access to innovation through mergers and acquisitions. This may bring efficiencies but will further reduce competition.  

US The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen Lord, announced that the US DoD is using industry feedback to draft new guidance to streamline the process of providing financial reimbursements to contractors impacted by the pandemic. Australian-owned US-registered companies may be able to make claims under Section 3610 of the CARES Act of March 2020.

Technology

US Increased demand in the logistics industry and real estate sector has triggered opportunities for Australian companies with innovative logistics solutions and retailtech.

Manufacturing

Canada – To stimulate the economy, the province of Ontario is investing in major infrastructure projects – including in transit systems, highways and broadband. C$37 million of that investment is being allocated to training 15,000 students to obtain skills in supporting industries, such as advanced manufacturing. Australian VET organisations interested in this opportunity should contact Austrade for more details.

US President Biden has signed an Executive Order that aims to secure supply chains for essential goods, which includes rare earths, semiconductors and advanced packaging, and large-capacity batteries that are used in electric vehicles. The review implies bipartisan support for diversification of supply chains for critical minerals. This means the opportunities for expanded mining, refining and processing of Australian critical minerals that have been identified over the previous two years will remain valid. 

Health

US – There is likely to be a boom in healthcare spending and investment, according to health industry figures. Investment in pharma, medtech and digital health is expected to reach new heights. The trigger for increased spending is the huge personal savings that have accumulated during COVID-19 related shutdowns.

US – Clinical trials research has slowed and there is an 18-month backlog in viral vector manufacturing for gene therapies. Australia’s ability to quickly restart clinical trials would offer a significant opportunity to secure more clinical trial projects from the US.

Medtech

US Life science deals are expected to bounce back quickly. One bright spot throughout 2020 was biotech IPOs coming online in record-breaking numbers. However, with more companies listing sooner, it is challenging pharma corporate investors to look at increasingly earlier company stages for deal flow. Companies seeking corporate partners should be prepared to produce strong data and a clear market plan. 

US – The digital health market increased by 10–15% per year prior to the pandemic, and this rate will now accelerate. Two major trends driving this acceleration are:

  • an increase in virtual services
  • a decline in in-person and elective procedures.

Opportunities for Australian companies include telehealth and remote monitoring, patient engagement, clinical trial technologies, and pharmacy benefits technologies. Companies looking for growth opportunities in the US in these areas should contact the Austrade centre for more information.

US – There is growing interest in finding opportunities to use artificial intelligence to improve drug discovery and repurposing – including for personalised medicine. Industry leaders have noted that an absence of regulation in this areas is inhibiting investment. This may provide opportunities for Australian expertise.

Contact:

Nick.Nichles@austrade.gov.au