Trade at a Glance 2011

Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

October 2011

ISSN 1839-1842 (Online)

ISBN [978-1-921612-94-7] (Web document)

ISBN [978-1-921612-93-0] (PDF document)

Minister for Trade's Foreword

Photo of The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP

Welcome to Trade at a Glance 2011, an informative summary of Australia's trade performance.

Australia has long been an open and active trading country. This engagement in global commerce has helped us become a prosperous nation and also left us well-placed in recent years to weather the worst effects of the global financial crisis.

In 2010, Australia registered a $16.8 billion trade surplus, with our goods and services exported to more than 200 countries. These exports generated more than 20 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product. Both exports and imports create employment: one in five Australian jobs is related to trade and expanding our international trade will help secure a high-skill, high-wage future.

Australia's total trade with China in 2010 was $105 billion, almost 24 per cent more than in the previous year. It was the first time that Australia's two-way trade with a single nation had topped the $100 billion level.

China was Australia's largest two-way trading partner, our largest export market and biggest source of imports. As we develop our trading relationships, we build our nation's wealth and contribute to the Government's vision for Australia as a prosperous, sustainable nation providing opportunity for all.

I encourage you to read Trade at a Glance 2011, and trust you will find it a valuable resource.

The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP
Minister for Trade

Trade Performance at a Glance

Profile of Australian Trade

Australia's two-way trade totalled $552.4 billion in 2010. Resource commodities including iron ore and coal, made up 47.5 per cent of Australia's exports. Australia's total goods and services exports reached $284.6 billion.

Other leading exports included services such as education and tourism, manufactured goods (including pharmaceuticals) and farm produce.

China, Japan, United States and the Republic of Korea were the nation's top four trading partners in 2010. About 70 per cent of Australia's trade was with the member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

One in five Australian jobs is related to trade, according to the Centre for International Economics report Benefits of Trade and Trade Liberalisation, 2009.

Exports of goods and services, 2010(a)
Share of exports by sector
Pie Chart - Exports by Sector

Australia's 2010 Trade Performance

Australia's trade in goods and services grew strongly in 2010.

Australia registered a $16.8 billion trade surplus in 2010, reversing a trade deficit of $4 billion in 2009. This represents a turnaround in our trade performance of $20.8 billion.

Two-way trade in goods and services grew 10 per cent to $552.4 billion in 2010, up from $503.9 billion in 2009.

The value of Australia's exports increased 13.9 per cent to a new record of $284.6 billion and export volumes were up 5.2 per cent in 2010. The surge was led by strong demand and firm prices for metal ores, minerals and coal.

Australia's manufacturing exports also performed well in 2010, increasing by 4 per cent to $40.5 billion, despite a strong dollar.

These were welcome results following 2009, when global trade flows fell by 11 per cent, in volume terms, due to the global recession.

Graph - Exports

Australia's Trade & Economic Statistics

Total two-way trade (b)Of which:
Australia's top 10 two-way trading partners 2010 ($ billion)
Goods (a) Services (b)(c) Total(c)(d) % share
1 China 97.7 7.6 105.3 19.1
2 Japan 61.8 4.3 66.1 12.0
3 United States(e) 34.6 15.1 49.8 9.0
4 Republic of Korea 27.6 2.5 30.1 5.4
5 United Kingdom 14.1 8.5 22.6 4.1
6 India 18.4 3.8 22.2 4.0
7 Singapore 15.5 6.1 21.6 3.9
8 New Zealand 15.2 6.1 21.3 3.9
9 Thailand 16.9 3.0 19.8 3.6
10 Malaysia 12.7 2.8 15.6 2.8
444.0 108.3 552.4 100.0
APEC(e) 329.1 61.4 390.5 70.7
ASEAN10 62.5 18.0 80.5 14.6
EU27(c) 57.0 21.0 78.0 14.1
OECD(e) 207.0 54.1 261.1 47.3

(a) Recorded trade basis.
(b) Balance of payments basis.
(c) Excludes imports of aircraft from regional import total from Sep-08 onwards (excl. the United States – see footnote (e). This has a significant impact on import totals for France (EU27).
(d) Total may not sum due to rounding.
(e) Based on unpublished ABS data and includes confidential aircraft imports for the US only.
Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database, ABS catalogues 5302.0. & 5368.0.05.004 and ABS unpublished data.

Australia's leading exports (goods and services) 2010(a)
($ billion)
Iron ore & concentrates 49.4
Coal 43.0
Education-related travel services 17.7
Gold(b) 15.0
Personal travel (excluding education) services 12.2
Crude petroleum 10.5
Natural gas 9.4
Aluminium ores & concentrates (including alumina) 5.3
Copper ores & concentrates 5.0
Aluminium 4.4
Beef 4.4
Wheat 4.2
Medicaments (including veterinary) 3.6
Technical & other business services 3.5
Copper 3.2
Professional services 3.1
Business travel services 3.0
Passenger transport services(c) 2.7
Refined petroleum 2.4
Meat (excluding beef) 2.3
Total exports(d) 284.6

(a) Goods trade is on a recorded trade basis. Services trade is on a balance of payments basis.
(b) Balance of payments basis.
(c) Includes related agency fees and commissions.
(d) Total exports on a BOP basis.
Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Australia's top 10 export markets 2010 ($ billion)(a)
Australia's top 10 export markets

(a) Totals are in $billions and percentage figures represent share of total market.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogues 5302.0. and 5368.0.55.004.

Australia's top 10 import markets 2010 ($ billion) (a)
Australia's top 10 import markets

(a) Totals are in $billions and percentage figures represent share of total market.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogues 5302.0. and 5368.0.55.004.

Australia's major goods imports 2010
Goods(a) $ million % share
Crude petroleum 16,218 7.7
Passenger motor vehicles 15,917 7.5
Refined petroleum 9,970 4.7
Medicaments (incl. veterinary) 7,896 3.7
Telecom equipment & parts 7,534 3.6
Computers 6,526 3.1
Gold(b) 6,520 3.1
Goods vehicles 6,019 2.8
Civil engineering equipment & parts 3,049 1.4
Monitors, projectors & TVs 2,822 1.3
Furniture, mattresses & cushions 2,629 1.2
Measuring & analysing instruments 2,616 1.2
Vehicle parts & accessories 2,572 1.2
Prams, toys, games & sporting goods 2,565 1.2
Electrical machinery & parts, not elsewhere specified 2,447 1.2
Heating & cooling equipment & parts 2,247 1.1
Pumps (excl. liquid pumps) & parts 2,220 1.0
Rubber tyres, treads & tubes 2,173 1.0
Household-type equipment, not elsewhere specified 2,054 1.0
Office machines 2,025 1.0
Total goods imports(c) 211,850 100.0

(a) Recorded trade basis.

(b) Balance of payments basis.

(c) Total goods imports on a BOP basis.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Australia's major goods exports 2010
Goods(a) $ million % share
Iron ore & concentrates 49,376 21.3
Coal 42,967 18.5
Gold (b) 15,005 6.5
Crude petroleum 10,502 4.5
Natural gas 9,425 4.1
Aluminium ores & concentrates (incl. alumina) 5,293 2.3
Copper ores & concentrates 5,036 2.2
Other ores & concentrates 4,441 1.9
Aluminium 4,409 1.9
Beef 4,369 1.9
Wheat 4,178 1.8
Medicaments (including veterinary) 3,601 1.6
Copper 3,160 1.4
Refined petroleum 2,438 1.1
Meat (excl. beef) 2,258 1.0
Alcoholic beverages (mainly wine) 2,238 1.0
Wool & other animal hair (incl. tops) 2,225 1.0
Passenger motor vehicles 1,802 0.8
Confidential mineral ores 1,655 0.7
Milk & cream 1,171 0.5
Total goods exports(c) 232,188 100.0

(a) Recorded trade basis.

(b) Balance of payments basis.

(c) Total goods exports on a BOP basis.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Australia's services imports 2010(a)
Services(a) $ million % share
Manufactured services on physical inputs owned by others 6 0.0
Maintenance & repair 283 0.5
Transport
Passenger(b) 5,708 10.2
Freight 8,542 15.3
Other(c) 291 0.5
Postal & courier services 129 0.2
Total transport 14,670 26.2
Travel
Business 3,150 5.6
Personal 21,248 38.0
Education-related 906 1.6
Other personal(d) 20,342 36.4
Total travel 24,398 43.6
Other
Construction 0 0.0
Insurance & pension 615 1.1
Financial 664 1.2
Intellectual property charges 3,706 6.6
Telecommunications, computer & information 2,038 3.6
Other business services 7,277 13.0
Personal, cultural and recreational 1,377 2.5
Government services, not included elsewhere 888 1.6
Total other services 16,565 29.6
Total services imports 55,922 100.0

(a) Balance of payments basis.

(b) Passenger services include air transport-related agency fees & commissions.

(c) Transportation operation lease fees are included.

(d) Outbound tourism for mainly recreational purposes.

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Australia's services exports 2010(a)
Services(a) $ million % share
Manufactured services on physical inputs owned by others 230 0.4
Maintenance & repair 54 0.1
Transport
Passenger(b) 2,713 5.2
Freight 425 0.8
Other(c) 2,251 4.3
Postal & courier services 950 1.8
Total transport 6,339 12.1
Travel
Business 2,966 5.7
Personal 29,851 57.0
Education-related 17,685 33.8
Other personal(d) 12,166 23.2
Total travel 32,817 62.6
Other
Construction 92 0.2
Insurance & pension 324 0.6
Financial 956 1.8
Intellectual property charges 1,027 2.0
Telecommunications, computer & information 1,816 3.5
Other business services 7,117 13.6
Personal, cultural and recreational 767 1.5
Government services, not included elsewhere 852 1.6
Total other services 12,951 24.7
Total services imports 52,391 100.0

(a) Balance of payments basis.

(b) Passenger services include air transport-related agency fees and commissions.

(c) Transportation operation lease fees are included.

(d) Inbound tourism for mainly recreational purposes.

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Foreign investment in Australia 2010(a) ($million)
Country Level of direct investment in Australia Level of total investment in Australia
United States 120,089 549,881
United Kingdom 52,525 472,649
Japan 49,417 117,633
Singapore 20,240 43,771
Netherlands 31,128 42,425
Hong Kong (SAR of China) 6,694 40,774
Germany 16,224 40,756
Switzerland 20,735 40,731
New Zealand 6,460 33,773
France 12,563 23,861
Total all countries 473,673 1,967,806
Of which:
APEC 241,863 858,798
ASEAN10 27,477 61,332
EU27 131,562 647,400
OECD 347,888 1,414,184

(a) Foreign investment in Australia: level of investment (stocks) as at 31 December 2010, by selected country and country group.

Source: ABS catalogue 5352.0.

Australian investment abroad 2010(a) ($ million)
Country Level of direct investment in Australia Level of total investment in Australia
United States 93,417 410,046
United Kingdom 72,046 192,336
New Zealand 38,947 73,934
Canada 23,447 39,174
Germany 9,251 37,231
France 419 29,415
Japan 518 29,111
Singapore 6,255 25,057
Netherlands 4,490 24,543
Hong Kong (SAR of China) 5,090 23,362
Total all countries 361,779 1,185,704
Of which:
APEC 200,791 661,882
ASEAN10 15,366 42,732
EU27 102,698 363,240
OECD 268,549 921,480

(a) Australian investment abroad: level of investment (stocks) as at 31 December 2010, by selected country and country group.

Source: ABS catalogue 5352.0.

Australia's global import position
How we compare to the rest of the world 2010 (US$b)
Rank Country Goods(a) Services(b) Total imports % share
1 United States 1,968 358 2,236 12.3
2 China 1,395 192 1,587 8.4
3 Germany 1,067 256 1,323 7.0
4 Japan 693 155 848 4.5
5 France 606 126 732 3.9
6 United Kingdom 558 156 714 3.8
7 Netherlands 517 109 626 3.3
8 Italy 484 108 592 3.1
9 Republic of Korea 425 93 518 2.7
10 Hong Kong(c) 442 51 493 2.6
11 Canada 402 89 491 2.6
12 Belgium 390 75 466 2.5
13 India 323 117 440 2.3
14 Singapore 311 96 407 2.2
15 Spain 312 85 398 2.1
16 Mexico 311 23 334 1.8
17 Russian Federation 248 70 318 1.7
18 Taiwan 251 37 288 1.5
19 Australia 202 50 251 1.3
20 Brazil 191 60 251 1.3
21 Thailand 182 45 228 1.2
22 Switzerland 176 38 215 1.1
23 United Arab Emirates 170 39 209 1.1
24 Turkey 185 18 204 1.1
25 Poland 174 27 201 1.1
26 Malaysia 165 32 197 1.0
27 Sweden 148 48 196 1.0
28 Austria 159 36 195 1.0
29 Saudi Arabia 102 74 176 0.9
30 Ireland 59 106 165 0.9
Total imports 15,376 3,503 18,879

(a) Goods on recorded trade basis.

(b) Commercial services on balance of payments basis.

(c) Special Administrative Region of China.

Sources: WTO online database and EIU Viewswire.

Australia's global export position
How we compare to the rest of the world 2010 (US$b)
Rank Country Goods(a) Services(b) Total imports % share
1 United States 1,278 515 1,793 9.5
2 China 1,578 170 1,748 9.2
3 Germany 1,269 230 1,499 7.9
4 Japan 770 138 907 4.8
5 Netherlands 572 111 683 3.6
6 France 521 140 661 3.5
7 United Kingdom 405 227 632 3.3
8 Republic of Korea 466 82 548 2.9
9 Italy 448 97 545 2.9
10 Hong Kong(c) 401 108 509 2.7
11 Belgium 411 81 492 2.6
12 Singapore 352 112 464 2.5
13 Canada 387 66 453 2.4
14 Russian Federation 400 44 444 2.3
15 Spain 245 121 365 1.9
16 India 216 110 326 1.7
17 Taiwan 275 41 315 1.7
18 Mexico 298 16 315 1.7
19 Switzerland 195 76 272 1.4
20 Saudi Arabia 254 10 264 1.4
21 Australia 212 48 260 1.4
22 United Arab Emirates 235 11 246 1.3
23 Brazil 202 30 232 1.2
24 Malaysia 199 32 231 1.2
25 Thailand 195 34 229 1.2
26 Sweden 158 64 222 1.2
27 Ireland 117 95 212 1.1
28 Austria 152 53 205 1.1
29 Poland 156 32 188 1.0
30 Indonesia 158 17 175 0.9
Total imports 15,238 3,664 18,902

(a) Goods on recorded trade basis.

(b) Commercial services on balance of payments basis.

(c) Special Administrative Region of China.

Sources: WTO online database and EIU Viewswire.

The Australian Economy

The Australian economy remains strong and resilient in the face of new and ongoing challenges. Australia's economic growth in 2010 was 2.5 per cent and the average unemployment rate was one of the lowest in the OECD at 5.2 per cent. Despite continuing international uncertainty, prospects for Australia's economy remain positive, with low public debt, low unemployment and a surge in business investment expected.

Despite the impact of natural disasters and a decrease in tax receipts, Australia's budget position remains amongst the strongest in the developed world.

The strong performance of the Australian economy is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Australia's strong economic institutions, in particular, a sound, stable financial and banking system – no Australian bank collapsed or required a government bail-out during the global financial crisis; four of the world's nine most highly rated banking groups are Australian.
  • Australia's flexible and open trade and investment environment and well-targeted economic policies supporting business growth and innovation.
  • Australia's close trade and economic links with the emerging economies of Asia which help to support growth and employment. In 2010, while world trade values rose 18.8 per cent, Australia's exports to China increased by 34 per cent and Korea by 28 per cent.
  • The success of monetary and fiscal stimulus measures in supporting economic growth during the global financial crisis.

The boom in the mining and resources sector is expected to see Australia's terms of trade reach their highest sustained level in 140 years. The 2011 Budget introduced measures that invest in the country's productive capability to maximise the benefits of the mining boom by targeted skills training and measures to boost participation.

Australia's industry structure 2010
Australia's Industry Structure 2010

(a) The term is used to describe gross product by industry and by sector (Chain Volume Measures reference year 2008-09). Industry breakdown based on ANZSIC 2006.

(b) Derived from seasonally adjusted data on an annual average

(c) As a share of GDP at basic prices.

(d) Basic prices are amounts received by producers, including the value of any subsidies on products, but before any taxes on products.

Based on ABS catalogues 5206.0, 6202.0 and 6203.0.

Key economic indicators Australia
2000 2008 2009 2010
Demand and production – chain volume measures, reference year 2008-09
Gross domestic product(a) % change 3.4 2.4 1.4 2.5
Exports of goods & services(a) % change 11.0 4.7 2.9 5.2
Imports of goods & services(a) % change 7.4 11.3 -9.0 13.5
Labour force
Population(b) '000 19,273 21,731 22,152 22,408(d)
Labour force '000 9,590 11,356 11,602 11,868
Employed persons '000 8,989 10,873 10,953 11,247
– Annual growth % 2.6 2.8 0.7 2.7
Unemployment rate % 6.3 4.3 5.6 5.2
Prices and interest rates
Consumer prices % change 5.8 3.7 2.1 2.7
Interest rates – 90 day bills(c) % pa 6.2 7.0 3.4 4.7

(a) Derived from annual movements in original data

(b) At end of period

(c) Annual average

(d) September 2010 data.

Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics and Reserve Bank, various catalogues.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Once concluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a high-quality, comprehensive, 21st century free trade agreement.

The TPP is the Government's highest regional trade negotiation priority because:

  • It has the potential to expand our access to some of the most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific region, providing great opportunities for Australia's exporters;
  • It aims to comprehensively address all trade and investment issues between the TPP countries, with the goal of more closely integrating the economies of all members;
  • It will simplify trade arrangements and be responsive to the needs of modern businesses, making it easier for Australian companies to operate in the region; and
  • It can provide a pathway to a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific, which would further expand opportunities in the region for Australian exporters and investors.

Current members of the TPP are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, the United States and Vietnam.

Australia's decision to participate in the TPP followed an extensive public consultation process. Overall, there was widespread interest in, and support for, Australia's participation in the TPP.

Key Interests and Benefits

  • A successful TPP negotiation will provide a pathway towards greater Asia-Pacific regional economic integration – it's in Australia's interest to be involved in order to shape the direction of the initiative.
  • Australia's trade and investment relationship with current TPP parties is significant. TPP parties composed 21 per cent of Australia's total trade with the world in 2010, and there are great opportunities in the TPP, particularly as membership expands, since more than 70 per cent of Australia's total trade is with APEC members; and
  • The Asia-Pacific accounts for more than half of global GDP and more than 40 per cent of world trade.

Agriculture

  • Beef was Australia's largest agricultural export in 2010, at $4.4 billion.
  • Agricultural products accounted for 10.6 per cent of Australia's exports in 2010.
  • Australia exports around 60 per cent of its total farm production.
Australia's top agricultural(a) exports 2010(b)
Rank Commodity $ million % share
1 Beef 4,369 14.5
2 Wheat 4,178 13.9
3 Meat (excluding beef) 2,258 7.5
4 Wool & other animal hair (including tops) 2,225 7.4
5 Wine 2,126 7.1
6 Milk & cream 1,171 3.9
7 Live animals (excluding seafood) 1,144 3.8
8 Cotton 1,042 3.5
9 Animal feed 987 3.3
10 Wood in chips or particles 917 3.1
11 Barley 801 2.7
12 Vegetables 789 2.6
13 Cheese & curd 742 2.5
14 Hides & skins, raw (excluding furskins) 721 2.4
15 Edible products & preparations 699 2.3
16 Cereal preparations 692 2.3
17 Crustaceans 664 2.2
18 Fruit & nuts 585 1.9
19 Oil-seeds & oleaginous fruits, soft 569 1.9
20 Animal oils & fats 306 1.0
Total 30,071 100.0

(a) Based on the WTO definition of agriculture, which includes alcoholic beverages but excludes confidential raw sugar in bulk. Data for confidential raw sugar in bulk are released with a lag. In 2009-10, raw sugar in bulk exports totalled $1.8 billion.

(b) Recorded trade basis.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database.

Agriculture Exports

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database.

Minerals and fuels

  • Minerals and fuels was Australia's largest export sector in 2010, valued at $135.0 billion.
  • Iron ore and coal were Australia's largest minerals exports, while crude petroleum was the leading fuels export.
  • China and Japan were Australia's two largest markets for minerals and fuels.
Australia's top minerals and fuels exports 2010
Rank Commodity(a) $ million % share
1 Iron ore & concentrates 49,376 36.6
2 Coal 42,967 31.8
3 Crude petroleum 10,502 7.8
4 Natural gas 9,425 7.0
5 Aluminium ores & concentrates (including alumina) 5,293 3.9
6 Copper ores & concentrates 5,036 3.7
7 Other ores & concentrates 4,441 3.3
8 Refined petroleum 2,438 1.8
9 Confidential mineral ores 1,655 1.2
10 Liquefied propane & butane 1,081 0.8
11 Nickel ores & concentrates 889 0.7
12 Precious metal ores & concentrates (excluding gold) 871 0.6
13 Non-ferrous waste & scrap 839 0.6
14 Ferrous waste & scrap 722 0.5
15 Crude minerals 220 0.2
16 Coke & semi-coke 155 0.1
17 Stone, sand & gravel 106 0.1
18 Natural abrasives 32 0.0
19 Residual petroleum products 19 0.0
20 Crude fertilisers 3 0.0
Total(b) 135,025 100.0

(a) Recorded trade basis.

(b) Total minerals and fuels exports on a Balance of Payments (BOP) basis.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Minerals & Fuels Exports

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Manufacturing

  • Aluminium, medicines and copper were Australia's largest exports of manufactured goods.
  • Exports of manufactures rose from $38.8 billion in 2009 to $40.5 billion in 2010.
  • The manufacturing sector accounted for 14.2 per cent of Australian exports in 2010.
Australia's top manufactures exports 2010
Rank Commodity(a) $ million % share
1 Aluminium 4,409 10.9
2 Medicaments (including veterinary) 3,601 8.9
3 Copper 3,160 7.8
4 Passenger motor vehicles 1,802 4.5
5 Medical instruments (including veterinary) 994 2.5
6 Zinc 934 2.3
7 Uncoated flat-rolled iron & steel 933 2.3
8 Measuring & analysing instruments 911 2.3
9 Civil engineering equipment & parts 851 2.1
10 Telecom equipment & parts 836 2.1
11 Lead 787 1.9
12 Specialised machinery & parts 760 1.9
13 Aircraft, spacecraft & parts 677 1.7
14 Vehicle parts & accessories 658 1.6
15 Nickel 647 1.6
16 Paper & paperboard 641 1.6
17 Pigments, paints & varnishes 637 1.6
18 Computer parts & accessories 632 1.6
19 Misc manufactured articles 557 1.4
20 Starches, inulin & wheat gluten 549 1.4
Total(b) 40,484 100.0

(a) Recorded trade basis.

(b) Total manufactures exports on a BOP basis.

Based on ABS trade data on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Manufactures Exports

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Services

  • Education, recreational travel, technical and other business services were Australia's leading services exports.
  • Australia's services exports stood at $52.4 billion in 2010.
  • The services sector accounted for 18.4 per cent of Australian exports in 2010.
Services

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Trade Policy at a Glance

Australia's Trade Policy

Trading our way to more jobs and prosperity

The Government's vision for the nation is of a prosperous, sustainable Australia providing opportunity for all. International trade contributes to the fulfilment of that vision by increasing productivity, international competitiveness, creating a high-skill, high-wage workforce and building national prosperity.

With these objectives in mind the Government's trade policy statement, Trading our way to more jobs and prosperity, released by Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson on 12 April 2011, sets out five guiding principles:

  • unilateralism – a commitment to the pursuit of ongoing, trade-related economic reform without waiting for other countries to reform their own economies;
  • non-discrimination – Australia will not seek exclusive or entrenched preferential access to other countries' markets;
  • separation – foreign policy considerations will not override trade policy assessments in determining the choice of negotiating partners and consideration of proposed trade deals;
  • transparency – the public will be kept well informed about the progress of trade negotiations and will have the opportunity to provide input; and
  • the indivisibility of trade policy and wider economic reform – domestic economic reform, improved international competitiveness and increased market access work together to create jobs and prosperity.

Consistent with these principles the Government will continue to pursue improved market access for Australian exporters in global markets. The number one priority remains the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO), as a successful outcome to these negotiations offers Australia the most potential economic benefit.

Apart from its role in facilitating trade liberalisation at a global level, the WTO also provides the core set of commitments and rules for its 153 members, creating an open, equitable and enforceable international trading regime. The WTO's dispute settlement system is central to that regime, and gives member countries and exporters confidence that the commitments and obligations contained in the WTO agreements will be respected.

At a regional level, the Government will continue to champion the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which has proved its effectiveness as a driver of trade liberalisation in the Asia Pacific.

The Government will also pursue high-quality, comprehensive free trade agreements where these are clearly in Australia's interests.

Australia and the WTO

As a founding member of both the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 and its predecessor, the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, Australia has a longstanding commitment to the multilateral trading system operated by the WTO. This system provides the legal framework governing world trade. WTO Members agree on legally binding rules that provide important legal certainty for their exporters.

The Australian Government's key trade policy priority is a successful conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations, launched in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. It seeks real improvements in market access for Australian exports across all negotiating sectors – agriculture, industrial goods and services.

For more information on Australia's participation in the WTO visit: www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations

The Doha Round has a strong development focus. It aims to improve developing countries' market access, reduce agricultural subsidies and increase global Aid for Trade. Aid for Trade refers to development assistance that addresses trade-related needs (such as policy, infrastructure and productive capacity) to help increase developing country participation in trade and support economic growth. Australia's Aid for Trade represents about 10 per cent of the overall aid program, which was around $400 million in 2009-2010. Aid for Trade is part of the Government's support for the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.

For more information on Australia's development assistance visit: www.ausaid.gov.au

Agricultural Trade

The Australian Government's goal in the agriculture negotiations of the Doha Round is to reform agricultural trade, which is one of the most distorted and highly protected sectors of international trade.

As Chair of the Cairns Group, the Australian Government is pushing for agricultural trade reform through the WTO. In particular, Australia is pursuing significant reductions in agricultural tariffs, deep cuts to domestic support and tight disciplines on export competition.

  • The Cairns Group is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries, bringing together a diverse range of developed and developing countries from Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The Cairns Group has been an influential voice in the agricultural reform debate since its formation in 1986 and continues to play a major role in pressing the WTO membership to meet the Doha Round's far-reaching mandate.

Members of the Cairns Group

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay

Non-Agricultural Trade

Non-agricultural trade accounts for around 90 per cent of global trade in goods. A strong Doha Round outcome would provide a significant boost to the world economy, with flow-on benefits to Australia.

In the Doha Round, the Government is pushing for reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade in non-agricultural goods (which include industrial, forestry and seafood products). These reforms would expand potential markets for Australian industry.

Services Trade

The Government is working hard to achieve better access for Australia's services exports, which accounted for almost one fifth of Australia's total exports in 2010, at $52.4 billion.

Through negotiations in the WTO Doha Round and the negotiation of comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Australian Government aims to reduce barriers facing our services exporters in overseas markets.

In particular, the Government is aiming to reduce foreign equity caps on overseas investments, improve regulatory transparency and make it easier for business people to pursue opportunities in foreign markets, through improved business mobility.

Given the importance of this sector to the Australian economy, Australia is working to ensure that services are prominent in all its trade negotiations.

Australia is active in promoting regulatory reform and services market access through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process.

In coming years, the services sector is predicted to be the most strongly growing sector in global trade. Education and tourism services are Australia's top services exports.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

The Government will pursue WTO-consistent, high-quality, comprehensive free trade agreements with key trading partners, where they offer net benefits to Australia and are supportive of global trade liberalisation.

Australia has concluded six FTAs:

  • ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand (AANZFTA) 2010
  • Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) 2009
  • Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) 2005
  • Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) 2005
  • Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) 2003
  • Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) 1983

Australia is undertaking FTA negotiations with:

  • China
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates)
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations – PACER Plus
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Australia's FTAs should:

  • Be fully consistent with WTO principles and rules, deliver WTO-plus outcomes and reinforce the multilateral trading system;
  • be comprehensive and genuinely liberalising, eliminating or substantially reducing barriers to goods and services trade and investment;
  • deliver substantial net economic benefit to Australia;
  • be negotiated in a way that ensures the public is well informed about trade negotiations and has an opportunity for input;
  • avoid entrenching preferential market access, while ensuring that Australian exporters and investors have an opportunity to compete on terms as favourable as anyone else's; and
  • not delay domestic economic reform.

For more information on Australia's FTAs visit: www.dfat.gov.au/trade/

Australia and the G20

Australia is a founding member of the Group of 20 (G20), the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union.

The G20 played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis and averting a global depression, including through coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus packages.

Its focus has now shifted to strengthening the global economy, reforming international financial institutions and improving financial regulation.

France is the current chair of the G20, and will host the next G20 Summit in Cannes in November 2011. Mexico will host in 2012.

G20 members are:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

G20 countries make up:

  • 87 per cent of global GDP
  • 65 per cent of world population
  • 77 per cent of world trade

Trade with our Region: APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the pre-eminent economic forum in our region and has delivered major gains to Australia and regional trading partners through trade liberalisation, business facilitation, and economic cooperation and technical assistance.

  • APEC has 21 member economies which account for 44 per cent of world trade and 71 per cent of Australia's total trade.
  • Eight of Australia's 10 largest export markets are within APEC, including our top three export markets – China, Japan and Korea.
  • APEC is driving an extensive trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation agenda aimed at creating a seamless regional economy.
  • APEC is increasingly focused on structural economic reform as a means of strengthening competitiveness and the efficiency of trade and investment flows.

Members of APEC

Australia, Canada, Peoples Republic of China, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Chinese Taipei, United States

Australia hosted APEC in 2007, with the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held in Sydney in September 2007.The United States is the current host.

For more information on APEC: www.apec.org

Trade Liberalisation and Jobs

One in five Australian jobs is related to trade. This equates to over 2 million jobs in today's workforce.

A study by the Centre for International Economics (CIE) in 2009 showed that both exports and imports create jobs in our economy.

The jobs created by trade are typically good jobs. According to a discussion paper by the Australian Trade Commission and the University of NSW, exporters:

  • pay higher wages or salaries than non-exporters, even after allowing for differences in size; n are more committed than non-exporters to providing a safe working environment;
  • employ a higher percentage of staff on a full-time basis; and
  • are more likely to offer training to workers than non-exporters.

Trade liberalisation, along with other reforms such as the deregulation of the financial system, opening the economy to foreign investment and the implementation of competition policy, has helped to reduce unemployment in Australia.

As tariffs have fallen and Australia's engagement in international trade has increased, the unemployment rate has fallen from double digit levels in the early 1990s to around 5 per cent currently.

Information and Contacts

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
For more information on trade policy and statistics visit www.dfat.gov.au/trade
DFAT Statistical and consultancy services
Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)
For information on the range of services available to new and existing exporters visit www.austrade.gov.au or contact 13 28 78
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC)
To find out about EFIC's export credit and insurance services visit www.efic.gov.au or call 1800 887 588
Further Contacts
For information about the Australian Government visit www.australia.gov.au

DFAT has a network of offices around the country

Head Office Phone
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 02 6261 1111
State Offices Phone
Adelaide, South Australia 08 8403 4899
Brisbane, Queensland 07 3405 4795
Darwin, Northern Territory 08 8982 4199
Hobart, Tasmania 03 6238 4099
Melbourne, Victoria 03 9221 5555
Perth, Western Australia 08 9231 4499
Sydney, New South Wales 02 9356 6222