Skip to main content


Trade Talk 8 February 2018

Record two-way trade in 2016-17

Strong growth in the services sector has boosted Australia's total trade in goods and services to a new record high of $735.5 billion, DFAT's 'Composition of Trade, Australia 2016-17' report released in January showed. Resources were again the main driver of growth, with iron ores & concentrates and coal accounting for 31.4 per cent of total exports. Australia's third largest export was education-related travel services, which rose 16.1 per cent to $28 billion. After China, Japan overtook the United States to become Australia's second largest trading partner.

Media Release

Launch of defence export strategy

The landmark Australian Defence Export Strategy released this week sets out the policy and planning to make Australia one of the top ten global defence exporters within the next decade. New initiatives include the establishment of an Australian Defence Export Office focal point for defence exports, a Defence Export Advocate, and a Defence Export Facility administered by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to give the Australian Defence industry confidence to identify and pursue new export opportunities.

Media Release

Focus on US-Australia trade and investment

In an address to the Asia Society in San Francisco last week, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said two-way investment with the US had grown to around the size of Australia's GDP, or $1.5 trillion dollars, since the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2005. The Minister also underscored that Australia would welcome the United States' re‑engagement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the future, and said he had great confidence about the positive impacts the Agreement promised for our region's economic and political future, and for the global trading system.


Missing media.

Release of Austrade 'Why Australia: Benchmark Report'

Austrade's annual 'Why Australia: Benchmark Report' explains why there is no better place to do business than Australia, by examining five key reasons for investing in Australia – its Robust Economy, Dynamic Industries, Innovation and Skills, Global Ties and Strong Foundations. A complementary 'Economic Analysis' blog breaks down the core arguments in the report.

2018 Benchmark Report

Economic Analysis Blog

International trade in goods and services, December

In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on Australia's trade of goods and services trade was a deficit of $1.36 billion in December 2017, a turnaround of $1.39 billion on the surplus in November 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced this week. Goods and services exports rose $510 million (2 per cent) to $32 billion, while growth in goods and services imports rose more, by $1.9 billion (6 per cent) to $34 billion.

December Key Figures

State of the Industry report explains why tourism is so important

Money spent by tourists supports a wide range of industries across the nation, Tourism Research Australia's latest 'State of the Industry 2016-17' report released yesterday shows. In addition to necessities like transport, accommodation and food and drink, spending on education is growing rapidly and is now the third largest spend item among international visitors.

State of the Industry Report

Missing media.

Agriculture grants to grow trade with China

Australian agricultural businesses can apply for funding for projects which grow agricultural trade cooperation with China, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced last week. This year's program will focus on advanced agriculture technologies, water in agriculture, e-commerce innovation, science and technology, food safety, animal husbandry, farming sustainably and exploring niche markets.

Media Release

Azevêdo calls on members to match words of support for the WTO with deeds

At an informal ministerial gathering on WTO issues, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reviewed the challenges and opportunities arising from the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) held in Buenos Aires in December 2017, and called on WTO members to follow up on their pledges of political support for the multilateral trading system with actions. "After MC11 it can't just be business as usual," he said.

World Trade Organization

APEC: Efforts to revitalize trade and build public consensus

Ahead of discussions held by APEC Business Advisory Council members in Auckland last week, New Zealand's Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker underscored the need for business to help re-build public consensus for trade around the world. "Our vision is one of shared prosperity with an economy that's serving the interests of all people where everyone participates in the economy," the Minister said.

Media Release

Services Trade Restrictiveness Index

The OECD's latest report on policy trends in services trade, released in January, concludes that although there is evidence of some progressive liberalisation of services markets, there has been an overall tightening of the global regulatory environment. Key findings include the trade cost equivalent of services trade barriers largely exceeds the average tariff on traded goods, and that consumers and firms pay the cost of trade restrictions. The STRI database provides internationally comparable information on regulatory policies affecting trade in services in 22 sectors across 44 countries representing over 80 per cent of global services trade.

STRI Policy Trends up to 2018

Missing media.

China's Belt and Road Initiative provides opportunities for Australian businesses with expertise in infrastructure

ASEAN is an economic powerhouse in the making that presents opportunities far beyond Asia itself, including Australian companies seeking to participate in China's ambitious plan to reshape global trade through its Belt and Road Initiative, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Australia Martin Tricaud explains in this Committee for Economic Development of Australia Blog.


Did You Know?

Growing 3.2 per cent on average each year since 1992, Australia is now in its 27th year of consecutive growth. See Austrade's 2018 Benchmark Report for more information.

Upcoming Trade Events

Australia in a Changing World: Why Latin America Matters

Canberra, ACT, 22 February 2018

As Australia looks to pursue its interests in a rapidly changing world, Latin America increasingly matters. Governments across Latin America are opening their economies, pivoting their focus towards the Indo-Pacific, and sharing our pursuit of a liberal world order. This presentation is hosted by the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the keynote speaker will be Kirsty McNeil Assistant Secretary, Canada and Latin America Branch, DFAT.


International Trade Ready Workshop – An Introduction to Exporting

Canberra, ACT, 27 February 2018

A team from the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies at Charles Sturt University will explain the different aspects of international trade and help businesses become export ready in this half-day workshop focused on three main topics: international markets, product development and distribution and delivery.


North Asia FTA Training Session for SMEs: Cultural Awareness: Japan

Melbourne, VIC, 28 February 2018

This Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry event suitable for SMEs in all industries aims to give participants an understanding of cultural differences in business and develop successful relationships in Japan. This activity received funding from Austrade as part of the Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grant Program.


ASEAN-Australia Business Summit 2018 - SME Conference

Sydney, NSW, 16 March 2018

EOIs close 14 February or earlier if capacity is reached. Australian SMEs currently exporting to ASEAN or considering doing so are invited to register their interest in the ASEAN-Australia Business Summit 2018 SME Conference. The conference will bring together regional specialists, business leaders and successful exporters to share their knowledge and insights. Attendees will be able to tap into expertise and obtain advice about free trade agreements, government programs and trade facilitation services.

More Information


Last Updated: 8 February 2018
Back to top