Australia flag Australia: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Australia

Foreign Trade in Figures

Australia is very open to international trade, which represents 45% of its GDP (World Bank). According to official figures, the country’s exports were led by coal in 2022 (21.2% of the total), followed by iron ore & concentrates (18.5%), natural gas (13.5%), education-related travel services (4%), and gold (3.5%). On the other hand, imports mostly comprised refined petroleum (10%), passenger motor vehicles (5.2%), freight transport services (5%), personal travel (excluding education-related) services (4%), and telecom equipment & parts (3.2%).

Australia’s main trading partners in 2022 were China, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and India, accounting for 63.1% of total international trade in exports. The top five importing partners for Australia were China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Singapore (data Australian Bureau of Statistics). Structurally, Australian foreign trade is highly dependent on the Chinese economic situation and the country's diplomatic relations with China. As a bloc, the EU is Australia's second-largest trading partner. As such, the European Union and Australia opened free trade negotiations in 2018. However, following five years of intense negotiation, the anticipated preferential trade agreement faces significant challenges, as talks were halted on October 29, 2023, with scant likelihood of immediate resumption. On the 15th of November 2020, Australia also signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries. This free trade agreement is the largest trade deal in history, covering 30% of the global economy. It includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and ASEAN’s free trade agreement partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea). The RCEP covers goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation. It also creates new rules for electronic commerce, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The country's trade balance was characterised by a structural deficit until 2007, but since then the country has been alternating between periods of surplus and deficit. In 2022, Australia exported USD 412.5 billion in goods and USD 50.6 billion in services (+19.6% and +14% y-o-y, respectively); whereas imports stood at USD 309.1 billion for goods and USD 63.6 billion for services (+18.3% and +54.5%, respectively – data WTO). The overall trade balance was estimated to be positive by 5.7% of GDP by the World Bank.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 235,386221,564211,824261,165309,189
Exports of Goods (million USD) 257,098271,005250,823344,864412,562
Imports of Services (million USD) 74,46271,32239,53741,20363,687
Exports of Services (million USD) 69,10770,65249,43544,39850,610

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 43.445.844.239.945.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 20,83648,09540,51087,478112,397
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 15,60247,46750,45390,80897,202
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 7.00.2-7.0-3.47.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.13.9-1.7-8.4-0.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.521.720.217.819.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.924.224.022.125.8

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.31.82.02.12.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.02.22.42.42.4

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Australia is a member of the following international economic organisations: OECD, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), WTO, G-20, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Australia click here. International organisation membership of Australia is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
Australia is a member of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed on 15 November 2020. The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Australia can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
China 24.9%
Japan 12.8%
South Korea 6.0%
India 4.7%
United States 3.0%
See More Countries 48.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 27.1%
United States 10.0%
South Korea 6.2%
Japan 5.8%
Singapore 4.5%
See More Countries 46.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

410.3 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 23.9%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron...Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 21.0%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 15.6%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 4.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.5%
See More Products 33.1%
309.3 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 12.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 6.4%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.1%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.9%
Automatic data-processing machines and units...Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.9%
See More Products 72.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: February 2024