5368.0 - International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Oct 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


December 10, 2007
ABS and Customs hit a century!
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Customs Service have reached a 100 year milestone, celebrating a century's worth of cooperation in producing international trade statistics.

"Trade statistics are a key measure of Australia's economy in relation to the rest of the world," says Australian Statistician, Brian Pink.

Information collected by Customs on imports and exports is used by the ABS as an important component of Australia's balance of payments and national accounts figures, which in turn are central to Australia's participation in the global economy.

"The ongoing accuracy of international trade statistics, and their timely delivery over the last 100 years, is a credit to the strength of the Customs and ABS relationship, a relationship which we look forward to continuing well into the future," says Linda Smith, Customs Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Operations.

The first international trade figures were collected in 1906. They were printed in a 445 page leather bound publication and listed the imports and exports of goods, money and gold bullion between Australia and the rest of the world. Australia then had a 22 million trade surplus and the single largest export was wool, while imports were mostly clothing, textiles, machinery and metals.

A special article released in conjunction with the October 2007 International Trade in Goods and Services publication provides further information on the ABS/Customs relationship and the patterns of Australia's trade over the last century, and includes the following;

Highlights of the last 100 years include:
1930s - Great Depression causes total trade to fall by nearly half.
1940s - World War II leads to higher prices and a strong trade surplus.
1950s - Record wool prices help trade balance flip from deficit to surplus.
1960s - The UK loses its position as Australia's number one trading partner.
1980s - Harmonized trade system allows consistent international comparisons.
2004-5 - China becomes main source of imports; increasing by more than a third since 2002-03.
2006-7 - China's demand for minerals leads to a boom in mining exports.

For more information, see International Trade in Goods and Services (cat. no. 5368.0).

This media release was distributed to the media on 10 December 2007.