Who are Australia’s major Trading Partners? For both import and export markets.
This information is readily available from Department Of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but most people only hear about our major trade partners, and our balance of trade figures.
For the year 2016/2017, Australian Exports totalled $373.2bn, whilst our imports were valued at $362.1bn. Pretty good, but since most of our trade is conducted in USD; any fluctuations in the exchange rate can have severe consequences to these figures.
No wonder that exporters and our Government would like the exchange rate to the USD to be somewhere about 0.65, but importers would like the reverse.
Last I heard, global trade with Australia – both import and export, including our resource exports such as iron ore, represented about 1% of global trade. One might question the importance of trade to and from Australia in this context, and the costs with which we have to deal with. Consider that we are an island nation, so international trade can only happen by sea or air, and Australia is not really close to any of its major trading partners except New Zealand, so, in the main, Australia suffers high transport costs as the result of our “tyranny of distance”.
Major Trading Partners
Not withstanding all this preamble, Australia’s top trading partner is China, a position it has held for the last 11 years. two way trade with China was valued at $174.7bn.
Not surprisingly, resources were again the driver, with iron ores and concentrates and coal accounting for 31.4% of our total exports.
Apart from iron ores and coal, our major exports are listed as meats and grains, whilst our imports (apart from services) are listed as passenger vehicles, refined petroleum, telecom equipment and crude petroleum.
Specifically, exports of merchandise to China is listed as iron ore worth $51.7bn and coal worth $11.2bn, wool and animal hair as $2.4bn; whilst imports from China are listed as telecom equipment and parts $7m, computers $5m, furniture $2.6m and prams, toys, games and sporting goods $2.3m.
Exports of merchandise to Japan are coal $15.2bn, iron ores and concentrates $5.4bn, beef $1.9m, and other major exports include copper ores and concentrates, aluminium, sugars, molasses and honey. Imports of merchandise from Japan include motor vehicles $7.4bn, gold $2.6bn and refined petroleum $2.5bn.
Exports to the USA was dominated by meat $2.434bn, followed by aerospace components $855m; whilst imports of passenger motor vehicles of $2.2bn, aerospace craft and parts of $2bn, followed by medical equipment and instruments of $1bn.
Basically, our exports and imports to all other countries follow a similar pattern.
The figures for “merchandise” do NOT include any specific figures for things such as education or other services.
Obviously there are huge amounts of exports and imports that we consume on a daily basis that are not mentioned here. It just goes to show the importance and value of these major items.
This article was written by Mark Salmon.