Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Senator for South Australia



23 August 2019


Record number of firms taking advantage of trade opportunities


New data released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of Australian merchandise exporters increased by over 1,000 or 2.0 per cent to a record 53,015 merchandise exporters in 2017-18.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham welcomed these results, which despite strong global headwinds further highlighted the Government’s firm commitment to leading the way in maintaining and forging open global markets.

“Since we came into government in 2013 the number of merchandise exporters has grown by more than 8,200 or 18.5 per cent”, said Minister Birmingham. 

“Every state has seen significant numbers of new exporters since we came to Government, led by Tasmania with a 17 per cent increase, followed by a 15.8 per cent growth in South Australia.

“Pleasingly the vast majority of exporters are small and medium sized businesses (87 per cent). There are now over 46,000 small and medium sized businesses that exported goods in 2017-18, an increase of more than 18.7% since we came to Government. 

“Unsurprisingly, our free trade agreement partner countries had the largest average export value per merchandise exporter led by Japan ($13.7m) and China ($13.6m).

“Labor had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) which includes Japan, and now the proof that these agreements work is in this new ABS data”, Minister Birmingham noted.

“This new data shows that Labor got it wrong on trade policy as the number of exporters fell when Labor was last in Government.

“Next week the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will hear evidence on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and I expect and hope that the Labor Party will support these agreements in full.

“I congratulate all our new exporters and wish them, and our existing exporters the best of luck in their exporting journey” said Minister Birmingham