THE value of Australia’s trade in goods and services reached a record $763.2bn in 2017 – an increase of 11% on 2016, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade publication, Composition of Trade, Australia 2017, released today (9 July).
The value of two-way trade in merchandise alone came to $590.1bn for the year.
It comes as no surprise that China was Australia’s largest trading partner over the year, with total trade between the two countries reported to be worth $164.7bn, or 27.9% of the value of Australia’s total merchandise trade. Exports to China were worth $100.2bn, accounting for 33% of the value of Australia’s total exports. Imports from China were worth $64.5bn, accounting for 22.4% of the value of Australia’s imports.
Australia’s second-biggest trade partner for merchandise in 2017 was Japan, with two-way trade worth $66.1bn over the year – that’s 11.2% of Australia’s total merchandise trade (by value). Exports of merchandise to Japan totalled $45bn, a 14.9% share of total merchandise exports. Imports came to $21.1bn, or 7.3% of merchandise imports by value.
South Korea was Australia’s third-largest trading partner for merchandise in 2017; two way trade between the countries totalled $52.1bn, accounting for 8.8% of Australia’s total merchandise trade for the year.
The US came fourth, with merchandise trade worth $43.6bn, or 7.4% of the total.
And, India was Australia’s fifth-largest trade partner for merchandise for the year, with trade worth $20.9m, or 3.5% of the total.
Iron ores and concentrates were Australia’s top export in 2017 (taking into account both goods and services), worth $63.1bn, an increase of 17.4% from 2016. Coal was second, worth $57.1bn, up 35.2% from 2016
In a statement announcing the publication of Composition of Trade, Australia 2017, trade minister Steven Ciobo pointed out the government was pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, aimed at increasing Australia’s international trade; FTA negotiations with the EU were recently launched, and negotiations continue with Indonesia, Hong Kong and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Pacific Alliance Groups.
“The more Australian businesses sell to the world, the more Australian jobs created,” Mr Ciobo said.