Australia’s trade in figures
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Key Issue Trade has been a key issue since the first Federal Parliament saw the Protectionist Party in government faced with an opposition with a strong contingent of Free Traders. Trade continues to be central to the Australian economy and has grown as a proportion of national income in recent years as transport, communications technologies and rising living standards in Asia have increased regional markets for Australian exports.
This article provides a brief australia united states trade statistics by country of the importance of trade to the Australian economy, key export markets for Australian goods and services, and the main exports produced by Australia. One way of visualising the importance of trade to the Australian economy over time is by looking at the proportion of Gross Domestic Product GDP represented by trade.
It shows that despite some volatility, trade represented a reasonably steady proportion of GDP throughout the s and s, increasing as a share of GDP since the s and peaking in at around 23 per cent. The last few years have seen a slight easing-off to average around 21 per cent of GDP. This means that around a fifth of all goods and services by value produced in Australia are traded internationally. While Australia is often thought of as a trading nation, this proportion is low by international standards as our lack of land borders reduces the amount of local international trade compared with other countries.
Figure 2 shows exports, imports and trade balances australia united states trade statistics by country a proportion of GDP for a selection of G20 members. Trade australia united states trade statistics by country a larger proportion of GDP for Australia than the large economies of the United States and Japan, but is lower than most other countries, particularly European countries and export-focused economies such as Germany and South Korea.
Figure 2 also shows the relative trade balances of these countries. InAustralia had a trade deficit of 1. It also contrasts with trade surplus countries such as Germany, which had a 6. It is important to note while looking at cross-country comparisons that while trade balances must offset each other globally, for any single country, trade balances can persist over many years or decades. For example, Australia has persistently run trade deficits over the long-term, as shown in Figure 1.
This can occur as trade imbalances can be offset by contrasting balances in international income transfers, or financial or capital account transactions within the Balance of Payments.
Exports, imports and trade balance as a proportion of GDP in select G20 economies. Figures for and are included to show longer-term relative growth trends. This table shows some of the trends driving Australian export growth. The rise of China as a key export market is clear, demonstrated by The concentration of Australian export markets is also evident with the top four markets China, Japan, US and South Korea accounting for over half 55 per cent of all exports.
Southeast Asia has seen some of the strongest growth trends in the last five years with exports to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam all showing strong growth. The inclusion of the United Arab Emirates is indicative of the strong growth in exports to the Middle East in recent years. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade produces individual fact sheets for most countries and regions to which Australia exports. Table 2 shows the top 15 export products for with relative shares of australia united states trade statistics by country exports and growth rates for the five years to These two commodities alone represent over a quarter of all export earnings.
The growth rates of the services categories show that strong growth in these areas over the past five years has helped offset lower australia united states trade statistics by country rates in some resource sectors.
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Australian exports, imports and trade balance as a proportion of GDP Source: Back to Parliamentary Library Briefing Book For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.