Skip to main content

Australia's 100 Years of Trade

News, speeches and media

Media Release

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


The dramatic opening up of the Australian economy and diversification of
export markets during the last 100 years has delivered real benefits for Australia,
according to a new report released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade.

The Direction of Trade Time Series
2000-01, One Hundred Years of Trade
has been prepared by the Department
to mark the Centenary of Federation.�

One hundred years ago, Australia relied on the United Kingdom for half of
its export income.� Until as recently as the early 1950s, the UK accounted
for one third of our exports.�

Fifty years on, it could not be more different.� Australia's exporters now
have buyers in more than 230 countries.� In 2000-01, the top destination for
Australia's exports was Japan, followed by the USA, Korea, New Zealand, China
and Singapore, with no single country accounting for more than 20 per cent
of Australia's $120 billion worth of exports.

During the last six years, Australia's exports have grown steeply to countries
like the USA (20 per cent per year); China (12 per cent per year); Saudi Arabia
(40 per cent per year) and Mexico (30 per cent per year).

The Direction of Trade Time Series 2000-01, One Hundred Years of Trade contains tables and charts showing the value of trade with each of our current
top 50 trading partners for each decade of the 20th Century.

It highlights the replacement of Australia's dependence on a narrow range
of markets for export income with a wide choice of destinations over the last
100 years, reducing Australia's vulnerability to changing world economic conditions.�

In addition, the publication presents the value and percentage shares of
Australia's exports to, and imports from, all of our trading partners and
regions in each of the last 20 years.� It includes information on trade balances
and where Australia records trade surpluses and deficits.

Copies of Direction of Trade Time Series can obtained from the Market
Information and Analysis Section on Ph (02) 6261 3114 or Fax (02) 6261 3321
or by placing orders on the Departments' website at

Media inquiries: Nicole Guihot (02) 6261 1555

Last Updated: 19 September 2014
Back to top