5368.0.55.006 - Characteristics of Australian Exporters, 2016-17 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/2018   
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Statistics presented in this release have been derived using a combination of:

The results of these studies are based, in part, on tax data supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of administering the CSA. No individual information collected under the CSA is provided back to the ATO for administrative or regulatory purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.

Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been adhered to. In accordance with the CSA, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.

For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


This statistical release provides an analysis of the characteristics and international trading activities of Australian goods exporters.

The scope includes all exporters of goods active during the 2013-14 to 2016-17 financial years, excluding those having only export consignments with a value of less than $2,000. Please refer to the Explanatory Notes of this release for further information.

Actively trading businesses include:
  • Type of Activity Unites (TAUs) from the profiled population of the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) (where activity is monitored by direct contact by the ABS).
  • Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) from the non-profiled population, that are actively remitting in respect of a Goods and Services Tax (GST) tax role.

The characteristics of actively trading businesses are then identified in the international merchandise exports data sourced from Home Affairs, with the process for identifying actively exporting businesses summarised as follows:
  • The Home Affairs documentation for each goods export includes an ABN or a Customs Client Identifier (CCID) identifying the owner of the goods. The CCID is an identifier provided by Home Affairs to exporting businesses that do not report an ABN.
  • ABNs are mapped to their identified TAU on the ABSBR.
  • CCIDs which cannot be mapped to the ABSBR are treated as statistical units.

This release includes businesses classified by:
More detail on the underlying concepts and structure of international trade in goods and the sources, methods and terms used in compiling the associated value estimates are presented in the following ABS publication, International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0).


International merchandise trade data for the 2016-17 financial year were extracted as at the December 2017 reference month. This extraction timeframe ensures that the data is final and will not be revised as part of the standard revision window. For further information about the revision window for international merchandise trade data, refer to the Data Quality - Accuracy section (starting at paragraph 11.41) in the following ABS publication, International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0).


The statistics contained in this release are intended to provide an accurate measure of the characteristics and international trading activities of Australian goods exporters.

The ABS uses a variety of methods to routinely assess information obtained from administrative data (such as that utilised in producing the statistics contained in this release). Sound data collection, methodological systems, conformity to international standard frameworks and the use of analytical tools all contribute to high quality output. Nevertheless, the data may not be accurate for a number of reasons.

More detail on the major sources of inaccurate data in ABS' international merchandise trade statistics, and business statistics can be found in the following ABS publications:


Statistics on Australia's international trade in goods are compiled and presented in accordance with international standards. The main standards are outlined in the Quality Declaration section of ABS publication, International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0). For more detailed views of these statistics (such as those contained in this publication), modifications and extensions of these standards are undertaken. Where possible, data are validated against independent sources both within the ABS and externally.

Several changes to the compilation of data on exporters of goods were undertaken for the 2014-15 issue of this release. As such, care should be taken when comparing data both before and after the 2014-15 issue. More detailed information on these changes is outlined in the Changes in this issue section of that release.


This statistical release provides data on the characteristics and international trading activities of Australian goods exporters. These characteristics include business counts by selected demographics (e.g. ANZSIC, business size) and the value of trading activity associated with these demographic breakdowns. These data are available by financial year and on a current price basis only.

The ABS publication, International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0), provides users with detailed information on international merchandise trade in goods statistics, describing the conceptual framework underlying the statistics, classification of data items, presentations and publications. Information is also presented on data sources, compilation methodologies and emerging issues.


Data are available to users free of change from the ABS website. Data available in this release is mainly in Excel spreadsheet format and the metadata (e.g. Explanatory Notes) is available in HTML webpage format.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or the Information Consultancy link on the ABS website. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.