The Morrison Government has today welcomed new ABS data showing Australia registered a record $4.8 billion monthly trade surplus for February, highlighting the ongoing strength and international competitiveness of Australia’s export sector.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said this new monthly trade data reinforced the need for the quick ratification of our trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru so Australian exporters had access to more markets and could further grow their exports.

“The Government’s commitment to free trade and open markets continues to play a major role in our strong position which has seen Australia record its fourteenth monthly trade surplus in a row,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Improved access to global markets for Australian goods and services has been a key factor in the record export performance our government has delivered.

“There are now three signed and settled trade agreements ready for implementation in the next parliament which will give our exporters access to over 300 million new customers, yet the Labor Party won’t give a straight answer on whether they’ll support them in their current form.

“Our farmers and businesses will see significant gains from our agreements with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong.

“Labor need to come out this week and be honest with Australian farmers and businesses about whether they’ll back them in by supporting these agreements or will seek to renegotiate these agreements, potentially delaying their implementation and risking our competitive position.

“By risking our competitive position and not backing in these agreements, Bill Shorten and the Labor party are putting at risk the future strength of our economy and jeopardising thousands of jobs.”

Australia’s monthly trade surplus in February 2019 was a record $4.8 billion, up $450 million from the $4.4 billion surplus in January 2019. The previous largest surplus was in December 2016 valued at $4.6 billion.

China remained Australia’s largest merchandise market in the year to February ($121 billion), followed by Japan ($57 billion) and Korea ($23.9 billion). In addition, strong export sales growth has been secured from the United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Canada and Italy in the 12 months to date.