Media Release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D8a - 1 October 2003

Trade With Eu And The Americas Rises Despite Challenges

The value of Australia's merchandise trade rose by seven per cent with the European Union and by four per cent with the Americas in 2002, despite slow world growth and the drought in Australia.

Total merchandise trade with these regions accounted for 35 per cent of Australia's total merchandise trade in 2002 (18 per cent for the EU and 17 per cent for the Americas).

Australia's Trade with the European Union, 2002 and Australia's Trade with the Americas, 2002, released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today, highlight the highs and lows experienced by Australia's exporters to these regions.

Total merchandise trade to the EU rose by seven per cent to $44.2 billion in 2002. Exports rose by one per cent to $14.9 billion while imports rose by 11 per cent to $29.3 billion. Exports have risen by an average 10 per cent per year over the past five years. Exports that performed strongly included wine and other alcoholic beverages (up 12 per cent to $1.2 billion), aircraft and parts (up 165 per cent to $775 million) and gold (up 41 per cent to $1.3 billion). Exports to the UK rose by eight per cent to $5.6 billion in 2002.  Other strong performing export markets included, France (up 22 per cent), Denmark (up 15 per cent) and Portugal (up 19 per cent).

Total merchandise trade with the Americas rose by four per cent to $41.4 billion in 2002. Exports fell by two per cent to $14.9 billion while imports rose by seven per cent to $26.5 billion. Export growth has risen by an average 12 per cent per year over the past five years. Exports of ships and boats (up 226 per cent to $299 million), wine and other alcoholic beverages (up 37 per cent to $916 million) and motorcycles (up 73 per cent to $86 million) were particularly strong performers in 2002.

Australia's Trade with the European Union, 2002 (priced  at $26.50) provides a comprehensive analysis of the growth, direction and composition of Australia's merchandise and services trade with the EU and with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).  Australia's Trade with the Americas, 2002 (priced at $30) provides a comprehensive coverage of Australia's merchandise and services trade with North and South America, together with country specific trade and general economic information.

These publications are part of a series published each year by DFAT, providing comprehensive information on Australia's international trade in goods and services. For copies of publications, contact (02) 6261 3114, or fax (02) 6261 3321.  DFAT also offers a customised consultancy service, producing statistical trade reports tailored to specific requirements.  Contact the Enquiries Manager on (02) 6261 3186.

The analysis and summary tables from publications are placed on the Department's website at http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/statistics.html.  Orders for publications can also be placed at this site.

Media Inquiries:  Nicole Guihot, DFAT Media Liaison, 02 6261 1555