Trade and investment

Trade and investment boost economic growth, support jobs, improve living standards and forge competitive industries.

By trading with the rest of the world, Australia:

  • Generates export earnings to support growth and raise living standards at home
  • Gives consumers lower prices and more choice
  • Forges more competitive industries and a more efficient economy
  • Gives our manufacturers access to global supply chains
  • Helps lift millions of people in developing countries out of poverty.

Australia has long been a trading nation, and the mining industry is a major part of Australia’s international economic success story.

Mining is by far Australia’s single biggest export industry and our resource exports account for around 58 per cent of Australia’s total exports. This is far greater than services (including tourism, education and financial services), agriculture and manufacturing combined.  

While the vast majority of minerals extracted in Australia are exported, the benefits are retained in Australia: mining companies paid 22 per cent of all company tax collected in 2017-18

Australian mining companies have relied on international investment to help develop the nation’s natural resources. This investment has allowed Australia to translate its natural endowments into better living standards for its people.

The value of international investment in minerals is overwhelmingly retained in Australia.  Some 77 per cent of the revenue earned by the nation’s major iron ore producers stays in Australia, paid as payments to suppliers or as taxes and royalties to governments

Australian mining companies are also major outward investors in their own right, using their expertise and capital to develop successful mining operations abroad as well as at home.

Trade liberalisation has helped to raise Australia’s living standards. A study by the Centre for International Economics has shown that trade liberalisation policies adopted by Australian governments from 1986 to 2016 have boosted real GDP by 5.4 per cent and increased the average family household’s real income by $8,448 a year, compared to what they would have been in 2016 without trade liberalisation.

Australia’s network of bilateral, regional and plurilateral free trade agreements are central to continued regional and global trade liberalisation and economic integration.

For these reasons, the MCA supports open international markets, free trade, and cross-border investment – and advocates for the benefits of trade, investment and international economic engagement for all Australians.