How have businesses in Australia been impacted by importing and exporting goods?

by Josh Biggs in Business on 23rd February 2021

As a largely desert continent, Australia’s economy relies heavily on coastal tourism and imports and exports with its nearest geographical neighbours, namely China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Hong Kong. However, as a result of the pandemic, Australia has faced not only the decimation of its tourism industry, but because of restrictions, shortages, and fluctuating foreign currencies, the country’s ability to import and export goods has seen a downturn too.  

Current import and export laws 

Australia has strong trade ties with the rest of the world, in particular its location has allowed it to become a major supplier to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The Australian Government has a number of policies that seek to develop and assist Australian businesses involved in international trade. Regulation also exists to protect domestic industries, consumers, and the environment from harmful and dangerous goods imported from overseas, which hasn’t changed since the pandemic – albeit restrictions are slightly tougher.  

In addition, the Australian Government committed an additional $241.9 million to continue the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), helping keep international freight routes and flights operating. This funding is in addition to the $110 million announced in April 2020 to establish the IFAM under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19.  

Main imported and exported goods 

Australia’s main export is iron ore, followed by their other most valuables exports coal, gold, and petroleum. These exports alone net $48.2 billion, $47 billion, $29.1 billion, and $20.3 billion, respectively. Of course, the country also ships other noteworthy items including food, wine, and cars.  

Because of the country’s location in the South Pacific, it’s main trading partners are within the Asian global market. Australia also exports its commodities to the United States (making up just 3.5% of its export destinations) and the United Kingdom (making up only 1.5% of its export destinations). 

Australia imported about $227.3 billion in commodities from around the world in 2018, and while this figure is expected to see a downturn over the next few years . The country’s imports represent only 1.3% of the overall global imports which were estimated to be about $17.788 trillion. Petroleum and crude oils as well as cars seem to be Australia’s main imports. 

The countries that export the most to Australis include Asian countries, European countries, and North America, with China accounting for 24% of its total import origins, followed by South Korea, Japan, and Thailand.  

Impact of Covid-19 

Like every country, Covid-19 has impacted many aspects of international commerce and will continue do so for some time. Of course, because many Australian businesses rely on international supply chains, it’s becoming more complex, as the pandemic heightens bribery and corruption, counterparty, modern slavery and political risks. 

This is also affecting the negotiation of several proposed agreements that would directly or indirectly bear on Australian companies’ trading relationships, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 

Categories: Business