Australia's trade with East Asia, the European Union and the Americas in 2008

Media Release

3 September 2009

Media Release

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) released three trade analysis publications today:

These three regions account for more than 80 per cent of Australia's total trade with the world.

Australia's Trade with East Asia

  • The value of Australia's goods and services exports to East Asia rose 36.5 per cent in 2008 to $155.5 billion.
  • Coal (up 131.3 per cent to $30.1 billion), iron ore (up 86.6 per cent to $29.8 billion) and crude petroleum (up 20.3 per cent to $8.2 billion) were Australia's major exports to East Asia in 2008. Manufactures exports rose 2.2 per cent to $20.0 billion, and services exports rose 11.3 per cent to $19.6 billion.
  • Australia's key export markets in East Asia were: Japan (up 52.9 per cent to $53 billion), China (up 34.3 per cent to $37.2 billion), the Republic of Korea (up 32.5 per cent to $20.3 billion) and Singapore (up 39.4 per cent to $10.1 billion).
  • The value of Australia's imports from East Asia increased 20.4 per cent to $132.1 billion. Our major import sources in East Asia were China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

Australia's Trade with the European Union

  • The value of Australia's exports of goods and services to the 27 members of the EU rose by 16.7 per cent to $32.6 billion in 2008.
  • Coal (up 104.3 per cent to $6.2 billion), gold (up 75.8 per cent to $4.8 billion) and alcoholic beverages (down 16.7 per cent to $1.2 billion) were Australia's major merchandise exports to the region in 2008. Services exports rose 3.1┬áper cent to $9.0 billion.
  • The United Kingdom was Australia's largest export market within the EU (up 20.1 per cent to $14.1 billion), followed by the Netherlands, Germany and France.
  • Imports of goods and services from the EU increased 14.2 per cent to $58.7 billion. Australia's major imports from the EU were medicaments (including veterinary), passenger motor vehicles, gold and aircraft and parts.

Australia's Trade with the Americas

  • Australia's exports of goods and services to the Americas rose 16.1 per cent to $25.1 billion in 2008.
  • Major merchandise exports to the Americas included coal (up 96.7 per cent to $1.7 billion), crude petroleum (up 469.1 per cent to $1.3 billion), beef (down 4.6 per cent to $1.2 billion) and passenger motor vehicles (up 579.3 per cent to $1.1 billion).
  • Exports of manufactures rose 29.6 per cent to $7.5 billion and services exports rose 8.1 per cent to $8.1 billion.
  • Australia's major export markets in the Americas in 2008 were: The United States (up 15.1 per cent to $18.3 billion), Canada (down 8.0 per cent to $2.3 billion), and Mexico (up 0.1 per cent to $735 million).
  • Australia's imports of goods and services from the Americas rose 16.0 per cent to $45.3 billion. Major imports included aircraft and parts, civil engineering equipment, measuring and analysing instruments and medicaments (including veterinary).

Australia's Trade with the Americas also includes an article on the significance of the United States to Australia as a trading and investment partner.

The article highlights the growing importance of services trade, and notes that the United States is Australia's largest trading partner for services. The article examines the changing composition of Australia's merchandise exports to the US and shows exports of manufactured goods have grown proportionately, relative to exports of primary goods.

The article also shows that the United States has been the largest direct investor in Australia from 1991 to 2008 and a key destination for Australian direct investment abroad during that period. In 2008, more than two out of every five dollars invested by Australia abroad as direct investment funds, were in the United States.

These reports are part of a series of trade publications released each year by DFAT.

Media Enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison - 02 6261 1555

Last Updated: 3 September 2009