China exports in $500 million decline as trade mission begins

As the Premier and Minister for Trade embark on a trade mission to China, statistics released by the ABS today show the value of South Australian merchandisable exports to China have decreased by more than $500 million in the 12 months to February 2016.

South Australia’s merchandisable export values with China for the month of February 2016 were the lowest since 2010.

Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade, Tim Whetstone, said the state’s decline in trade with China amounts to the loss of millions of dollars from an already struggling economy.

“China is the State’s largest trading partner and the ongoing decline in export values since 2014 is costing jobs,” Mr Whetstone said.

“The latest review of the China Engagement Strategy offered very little to address how the state could overcome this concerning slump in trade.

“As it stands the Weatherill Labor Government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on trade missions to China, and despite the implementation of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement, the State’s export values to China are still significantly in the red.

“The question must also be asked as to how many of the 300 South Australian delegates attending the China trade mission are export ready or are representing businesses/organisations that are export ready?”

Mr Whetstone said South Australia must be better utilising its strong connections in China.

“All Australian states are experiencing the same global economic conditions and yet South Australia has lost a significant share of the nation’s Chinese export market,” Mr Whetstone said.

“South Australia needs to be more proactive and provide further assistance for the State’s exporters to open new markets and remove barriers preventing export growth.”