Trade Relations & Free Trade Agreements

Australia's two-way trade in goods and services was A$660.0 billion with a trade deficit of $22.6 billion in 2014-15. Australia has strong trade linkages with the Asia-Pacific region with over 70% of trade taking place with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries.

Exports: In 2014-15, Australia’s total goods and services exports decreased 3.8% to A$318.7 billion while export volumes increased 6.6%.  Export prices fell by 9.7%.    In value terms, the largest goods & services export sectors are Minerals & Fuels (down 13.8%), Services (up 9.4%), Manufacturers (up 3.4%%) and Rural (up 7%).

Imports: Australia’s total value of goods and services imports increased 0.7% to A$341.3 billion in 2014-15.

Imports 2015

(Source: DFAT publication ‘Composition of Trade Australia 2014-15’)

Trade Agreements

Australia has ten free trade agreements currently in force. These are with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, Chile, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Malaysia. Australia signed an FTA with Korea (around 5% of Australian trade) in April 2014 and an FTA with Japan entered into force in January 2015 (approximately 11% of Australian trade).  FTAs cover approximately 42% of Australia's total trade.

After ten years of negotiation, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (CHAFTA) entered into force in December 2015, making Australia one of the few developed economies with FTA agreements with China. The agreement provides benefits for Australian exporters (with certain caveats and carve-outs) particularly in relation to agriculture (beef, dairy, wine, fruit, port, sheep meat, seafood and some grains), services (legal, education, telecommunication, financial, tourism and healthcare) and mining (coal, alumina and some base metals).

FTA Negotiations

Australia is engaged in further FTA negotiations. Of these, two are bilateral FTA negotiations - India and Indonesia - and four are multilateral FTA negotiations: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Pacific Trade and Economic Agreement (PACER Plus) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)

(Sources: Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT).   Trade Agreements.)

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