7 February 2023

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New insights into Australian exporters

Austrade’s economics team launched a landmark publication on trade and Australian businesses on 2 February.


State of Exporters’ uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to analyse how Australian exporters are faring.

The background is impressive. Last year, exporters generated A$1.6 trillion in turnover and delivered A$646.7 billion of value added to the economy.

This equates to an enormous 31% of national GDP.

The report also compares the performance of exporters and non-exporters. And it reviews the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian businesses.

Exporters are high-performing businesses

The new State of Exporters report reveals:

  • exports or export-related activity creates jobs for almost 3 million Australians
  • exporters employ more people and pay significantly higher wages — 43% higher, according to ABS data
  • exporters proved more resilient during the pandemic, despite the dislocation in global supply chains.

Agile and high-paying

The report unearths industry insights. For example, some services-export companies tend to pay comparatively high wages. These companies are typically from the information media and technology sectors. The best-paying export companies are still in Australia’s mining industry.

Also, Australian exporters are agile. They have succeeded in diversifying trade and finding alternative markets. Except for China, Australia’s top export market destinations in 2020–21 were Japan, Korea and the United States. Minor export markets also kept getting bigger.

Proximity still matters, however. As measured by the number of exporters, Australia’s top export destination in 2020–21 was New Zealand – with 16,394 exporters.

The State of Exporters and the Economics Team

To find out more, please contact the Austrade Economics Team at EIDEeconomics@austrade.gov.au.


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