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Services trade

Australia has a strong interest in progressing services trade reform to eliminate barriers and improve market access for Australian service suppliers.

The services sector makes up 70 per cent of the Australian economy and employs 9 out of 10 Australian workers. Services made up 19.7 per cent of Australia's total trade in 2014, and 18.4 per cent of Australia's total exports.

Australia is leading negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The 25 TiSA negotiating parties collectively account for 70 per cent of global services trade. Australia also promotes improved services exports through APEC, the G20, the OECD and the negotiation of comprehensive free trade agreements.

Our objective in services trade negotiations is to deliver tangible commercial benefits for our services sector. We seek to do this by:

  • addressing discriminatory barriers to cross border services trade,
  • improving investment conditions for Australian businesses seeking to establish an offshore commercial presence, and
  • promoting business mobility so Australian services professionals can more easily work in overseas markets.

Priority sectors for Australia include financial services, legal and professional services, education, telecommunications and electronic commerce. We are also seeking to expand opportunities for Australian businesses in areas such as mining and energy services, environmental services and construction.

Australia is a trading nation with a strong research tradition and a need for access to new technologies. Trade in royalties for intellectual property for Australia in 2013 was $974 million (exports) and $5.4 billion (imports). Australia supports international arrangements for the effective and balanced protection and use of intellectual property.

Australia's services exports

($ billion)

A$36.1b in 2003; A$37.7b in 2004; A$39.9b in 2005; A$43.9b in 2006; A$48.2b in 2007; A$51.4b in 2008; A$51.1b in 2009; A$50.5b in 2010; A$50.0b in 2011; A$51.1b in 2012; A$55.2b in 2013; A$60.1b in 2014

Based on ABS catalogue 5302.0.

Last Updated: 26 November 2015
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