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Australia’s trading relationship with China explained

AUSTRALIA’S TOP STORY | DATA DIVE! | It is a commonplace of the Australian media’s China coverage that Australia is extraordinarily dependent on the Chinese market and must thus be extremely sensitive to the Beijing government’s “feelings.” But the “China exposure” trope is a complete myth. Australia depends on China for roughly 30% of exports, but it depends on exports for less than 20% of GDP, making Australia’s China exposure roughly 6% of GDP. Even that figure is dominated by trade in fungible commodities like iron ore, coal, and wheat that would simply go somewhere else if China switched suppliers. What’s more, the seemingly extreme exposure has only arisen over the last ten years, and with China’s economic growth at an end, the party is over anyway. A lot of individual Australians got rich off selling minerals to China, but for the rest of us, China simply isn’t very important to our livelihoods.

Data sources used in this video:
(1) DFAT – Composition of Trade:
(2) Parliament – Australia’s Trade in Figures:
(3) OEC – Australia country profile:
(4) World Coal Association – Coal market & pricing:
(5) International Energy Agency – Coal:

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Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: