EXPORTS of goods and services from Australia have risen to record highs in the September quarter, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Exports of merchandise goods came to $87bn for the quarter, while services came to $24bn.

Australia’s trade surplus also widened from $3.9bn in the June quarter to $6.6bn in the September quarter.

According to a statement from trade and investment minister Simon Birmingham, net exports contributed 0.3 percentage points to real GDP growth for the quarter. In total, exports rose by 0.1% with the value of exports of rural goods, fuels, manufactured goods, transport services and travel services all increasing in the September quarter.

China remained Australia’s largest merchandise market in the year to September ($109bn), followed by Japan ($52bn) and Korea ($22bn). Strong export sales growth has also been secured from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Italy in the past 12 months.

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Mr Birmingham said trade had played a critical role in Australia’s continued economic success having contributed more than one quarter of Australia’s economic growth over the past five years.

“Through the free-trade agreements the Liberal-National government has secured over the past five years, we’ve locked in more market access for Australian farmers and businesses and provided certainty of treatment for services exports and investors,” he said.

“This has contributed to the current strength of the economy and means Australia’s economy is growing faster than the OECD average and all of the G7 nations except the US.

“It’s vital we continue to provide more opportunities for exporters to secure new market access as this will further strengthen our economy into the future.”

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