The number of Australian merchandise exporters increased by more than 1,000 (2 percent) to a record 53,015 merchandise exporters in 2017-18, according to new figures.
New data released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the vast majority of those exporters (87%) are SMEs.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said despite strong global headwinds more Australian businesses are now exporting.
“Since we came into government in 2013 the number of merchandise exporters has grown by more than 8,200 or 18.5 per cent,” he said.
Every state has seen significant numbers of new exporters, led by Tasmania (17 per cent increase), followed by South Australia (15.8 percent).
“Pleasingly, the vast majority of exporters are small and medium sized businesses,” Senator Birmingham said.
“There are now over 46,000 small and medium sized businesses that exported goods in 2017-18, an increase of more than 18.7% since we came to Government.
FTAs give exporters a boost
“Unsurprisingly, our free trade agreement partner countries had the largest average export value per merchandise exporter led by Japan ($13.7m) and China ($13.6m).”
Senator Birmingham said the Labor Opposition had to be “dragged kicking and screaming” to support free trade agreements.
“This new data shows that Labor got it wrong on trade policy as the number of exporters fell when Labor was last in Government,” he said.
Next week, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will hear evidence on the new Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement.
Both agreements were signed earlier this year but are yet to be ratified by Parliament.
“We want to see them brought into force by the end of this year because they are about continuing to fuel that two-way growth in trade but also in investment,” Senator Birmingham said.
“I expect and hope that the Labor Party will support these agreements in full.”