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More poor trade figures: what's today's excuse?

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Media Release

Senator Peter Cook

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Shadow Minister for Trade


18 August 1999


More poor trade figures - what’s today’s excuse?


Today’s quarterly trade figures show a merchandise trade deficit of $3.3 billion, an increase of $133 million from the previous quarter alone. This continues a trend that has been in place since 1997.


“This deterioration might be forgivable if there was some sense that the Government had a coherent strategy for the upcoming APEC and WTO negotiations. But there seems little sign that this Government is thinking beyond the next election”, Shadow Trade Minister Senator Peter Cook said today.


The deficit for 1998-99 was nearly 300% higher than for 1997-98.


These latest figures show that sales of Australia’s main exports are falling.


  • Coal exports are down 9%


  • Non monetary gold exports are down 7%


  • Iron ore exports are down 6%


At the same time, our imports of elaborately transformed manufactures continue to soar.


  • Data processing machines imports are up 20%


  • Telecommunications equipment imports are up 35%


“Prominent journalists Greg Sheridan and Paul Kelly have already questioned whether Mark Vaile is really up to the job of Trade Minister. Is further proof required?” Senator Cook said.




For more information, please contact:

Andrew Leigh on (02) 6277 3700 or 0412 633 652.



md 1999-08-20  09:48