The latest National Accounts for the September quarter clearly illustrate the strong economic benefits of pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show goods and services exports rose further in the September quarter to record highs. The value of merchandise goods increased to $87 billion and the value of services exports rose to $24 billion.
Australia’s trade surplus also widened from $3.9 billion in the June quarter to $6.6 billion in the September quarter.
Net exports contributed 0.3 percentage points to real GDP growth for the quarter. In total, exports rose by 0.1 per cent with the value of exports of rural goods, fuels, manufactured goods, transport services and travel services all increasing in the September quarter.
China remained Australia's largest merchandise market in the year to September ($109 billion), followed by Japan ($52 billion) and Korea ($22 billion). Strong export sales growth has also been secured from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Italy in the past 12 months.
Benefits of free trade agreements
Senator Birmingham said trade had played a critical role in Australia’s continued economic success having contributed over one-quarter of Australia’s economic growth over the past five years.
“Through the free trade agreements the Liberal-National Government has secured over the past five years, we’ve locked in more market access for Australian farmers and businesses and provided certainty of treatment for services exports and investors,” he said.
“This has contributed to the current strength of the economy and means Australia’s economy is growing faster than the OECD average and all of the G7 nations except the United States.
“International trade also creates jobs, with one in five Australian workers, or 2.2 million Australians currently employed in a trade-related activity.
“It’s vital we continue to provide more opportunities for exporters to secure new market access as this will further strengthen our economy into the future.
“Our record is in stark contrast to Labor who failed to start and conclude a free trade agreement whilst they were in government.”