Strong growth in the services sector has bolstered and diversified Australia’s total trade in goods and services, which reached a new record high in 2016-17 of $735.5 billion.
Australian exports rose 16.8 per cent to $373.2 billion, while imports were valued at $362.1 billion, up 1.4 per cent, according to DFAT’s Composition of Trade, Australia 2016-17 report.
For the 12 months to June 2017, resources were again the driver, 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, natural gas rose 34.5 per cent to $22.3 billion as Australia’s fourth largest export, and personal travel, excluding education, services was fifth, and rose 4.8 per cent to $21.7 billion.
Growth in services exports, which increased 8.3 per cent, is helping diversify the drivers of Australia’s trade growth. With tourism, education and financial services an increasingly important part of the Australian economy, these industries attract customers from across the globe.
Importantly, Australia’s tourism exports continue to support our overall export growth and accounted for $37.2 billion, or 10 per cent, of total exports of goods and services.
The Turnbull Coalition Government is committed to boosting the export competitiveness of our $1.2 trillion services sector, accounting for 10.6 million jobs. The Government’s $75 billion infrastructure program is part of driving the productive capacity of this vital sector.
Australia’s top trading partner was again China, a position it has held for the past 11 years, and two-way trade with China was valued at $174.7 billion or 23.8 per cent of total trade.
Japan also overtook the United States to become Australia’s second largest trading partner at $68.6 billion, with the United States as the third largest partner valued at $66.5 billion.