Skip to main content


Trade Talk 24 May 2019

Australia's investment position 2018

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' International Investment Position Supplementary report released on 8 May showed the level of total foreign investment in Australia rose $187.1 billion or 5.6 per cent to $3.5 trillion at the end of 2018. The top five source countries were: the United States at $939.5 billion (up 3.7 per cent); United Kingdom at $574.8 billion (up 18.1 per cent); Belgium at $316.9 billion (up 2.8 per cent); Japan at $229.3 billion (up 1.9 per cent); and Hong Kong at $118.8 billion (up 9.2 per cent).

Investment position

Australia's services trade 2018

The ABS' international trade in services data released today showed Australia's services exports rose 9.2 per cent (or $7.8 billion) to $92.8 billion in 2018. The United States remained Australia's largest two-way services trading partner at ($27.2 billion) and China remained Australia's largest services export market at a record $17.9 billion. Strong export growth was recorded for both India (up 26.8 per cent) and China (up 13.1 per cent), both driven largely by increases in education services exports.

Trade in services

Australia joins Government Procurement Agreement

Australia's membership of the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement came into effect on 5 May 2019. The nearly 50 GPA members include the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the European Union and its 28 member states. GPA procurement activities are worth an estimated US$1.7 trillion annually.


Global trade growth falls sharply

The OECD's Economic Outlook twice-yearly analysis of major economic trends and short-term prospects notes that trade tensions are taking a toll on the global economy with growth rates projected to come out well below those of the past three decades, at 3.2 per cent in 2019 and 3.4 per cent in 2020.


The international economic outlook

Image of Cargo mail outside a plane on the tarmac .

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Philip Lowe outlined a set of reasons for the slowing global economy in a speech to the Economic Society of Australia this week. One of the three key factors he identified was a marked slowdown in international trade that bucked the historical trend of global trade increasing at least as fast as GDP.


The path forward on WTO reform

This article explains why there are reasons to be hopeful about the WTO's future, as current criticisms have the potential to expedite long overdue reforms.

Chatham House

Tech standards and China's rise

This article examines the race for leadership in emerging technologies, and implications for the development of technology standards. The ability of businesses to transact among digital economies will be as dependent on transparent, balanced and open digital rules as it has been for traditional goods and services.

US Studies Centre

DFAT's iSAY essay competition on trade

DFAT's new essay competition seeks to highlights the benefits of international trade, in an essay topic for senior high school students, and emphasise the importance of Australia's trade with ASEAN during the Australia now ASEAN year, in a topic for university undergraduates at both Australian and ASEAN universities. See the DFAT website for further details. Entries close Friday 28 June.

iSAY Competition

Did You Know?

Following a 63.3 per cent rise in services exports to $2.2 billion in 2018, Nepal has become a top 10 Australian services export destination.

Upcoming Events

2019 Symposium on Enhancing and Enriching the Australia-Korea Business and Cultural Relationship 2019

Sydney, NSW, 29-30 May 2019

Co-organised by the Australia-Korea Business Council and the University of South Australia Business School, this free symposium will bring together leaders in the Australia-Korea field to discuss how to enhance and enrich the relationship through trade, investment, education, culture and tourism and the future direction of the relationship.


Multilateralism and Australian Interests: Where to next?

Canberra, ACT, 11 June 2019

Former career diplomat John Quinn will draw on his experience to discuss the future of the rules-based global order and what Australia should be doing in response to developments that have placed its future in doubt.


ASEAN Australia Free Trade Agreements Panel Discussion

Sydney, NSW, 17 June 2019

This Australia-Indonesia Business Council NSW event will focus on the impact, opportunities and challenges of free trade agreements between Australia and the ASEAN region. The event will help businesses better understand and leverage these FTAs to trade, invest and/or provide services to organisations in ASEAN member countries.


Last Updated: 24 May 2019
Back to top