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Monday, 6 June 1994
Page: 1362

(Question No. 1277)


Senator Jones asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 28 March 1994:

  With reference to Austrade and Australian companies in China establishing a branch in Shanghai of the Australian Chamber of Commerce:

  (1) What is the current value of Chinese exports and imports from and into Australia.

  (2) How much has this trade increased in the past ten years.

  (3) What is the breakdown of commodities traded between Australia and China and in what areas of China are Australian business investment concentrated.


Senator McMullan —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) The value of Australian exports to and imports from China in 1993 were $2,291 million and $2,925 million respectively.

  (2) Australian exports to China increased by 391% over the past ten years, and imports increased by 1056%. The average annual trend rate of growth of exports was 10.4%; the corresponding figure for imports was 27.2%. In 1983 Australian exports to and imports from China were $467 million and $253 million respectively. The corresponding figures for 1993 were as in (1) above.

  (3) Australia's principal exports to and imports from China in 1993 were:

Principal Exports ($ millions)

Wool and animal hair (inc wool tops) 582.3

Iron ore and concentrate 468.8

Aluminium 51.9

Machinery and transport equipment 51.9

Ships, boats and floating structures 51.8

Coal 50.5

Iron and steel 40.1

Barley unmilled 39.0

Telecommunications equipment not elsewhere specified 36.9

Other industry-specific machinery 36.4

Principal Imports

Clothing 808.7

Sporting Goods, toys, games etc 252.2

Textile yarn and fabric 232.6

Footwear 220.3

TVs, VCRs, radios and telecom equipment 176.8

Travel goods, handbags etc 135.2

Household equipment 85.0

Plastic articles not elsewhere specified 75.3

Machinery and transport equipment 54.2

Chemicals and related products 52.7

  An official province by province breakdown of Australia's investments in China is not available. Australian investments have historically been concentrated in coastal China, in Shanghai and Guangdong in particular. Australian investment in China is becoming more geographically dispersed with increasing interest in the interior and the northeast.