Trade with China hit record levels in 2012

TRADE between Australia and the world's biggest economy, China, reached a massive $127 billion this year, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report revealed on Friday.

The annual Composition of Trade report also showed trade with China grew to 20% of Australia's total with all trade partners.

And while mineral and fuel exports top the list of Australian exports to China in 2011-12, agriculture, manufacturing and services have all also expanded.

Major exports across those sectors included education, wool, cotton and pharmaceutical products.

After China, Japan and the United States were Australia's next biggest trading partner, with $75.7 billion and $56.7 billion worth of trade respectively.

Overall, exports of Australian goods and services grew by 6.2% in 2011-12, to $315.8 billion, creating a trade surplus of some $4.8 billion.

Imports were also up, 13%, reaching $311 billion during the financial year.

China was also Australia's largest merchandise trading partner ($120.2 billion) while the United States was the largest services trading partner ($16.1 billion) in 2011-12.

The report shows:

  • Australia's trade volumes grew by nearly 8% in 2011-12
  • Australia's terms of trade increased slightly, up 0.4%
  • Exports of insurance and pension services
  • Financial services all grew strongly, up about 30%

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