Australia's direct trade with China, its largest trading partner, has accounted for 5.5 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, according to a report on bilateral trade which was launched in the Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.
Commissioned by the Australia-China Business Council (ACBC), the report finds that the benefits to ordinary Australian households from trade with China keep expanding, with the 2014 figure reaching 16,985 AU dollars (13,372 U.S. dollars), a five fold increase since 2009 when data collection began.
Based on an exclusive business survey of more than 200 Australian ACBC member firms, case studies from different industries, and a new data source, the World Input-Output Database, this report demonstrates that, as in the preceding years of the resources investment boom, Australian governments, firms and households continue to benefit significantly and increasingly from Australia-China trade through growth in GDP, tax revenue, employment and real wages.
The report also finds that Australia's trade with China as a share of total trade has risen from 8 percent in 2003 to 23 percent in 2013.
When launching the report, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she believes "the best days of the Australia-China relationship lie ahead of us".
One in 58 Australian workplaces is involved in direct exports to China. Nearly 200,000 Australian jobs are sustained by direct exports to China. The three largest sectors are mining (72,000), hotels and restaurants (38,000), and agriculture (18,000).
Australian non-resources exports to China are growing in agriculture, manufacture and services. Twenty percent of Australian non-resources exports go into Chinese final consumer markets.
The survey finds that Australia-China trade is complementary. Firms that do well in China have a higher tendency to stay in Australia and expand their Australian workforce.
This Australia-China Trade Report breaks new ground by providing the first close analysis of the impact of bilateral trade between Australia and China on Australia's business and economic integration with global value chains.
As for the future, Australian businesses are generally positive about the opportunities offered by an FTA with China, while noting longer term challenges, such as the ability to deal in Renminbi, the Chinese currency, and opening of industries for foreign participation.