We export rocks and import gadgets

Australia’s commodity exports may be growing in leaps and bounds, but when it comes to high-tech gizmos we are still beholden to the rest of the world, Government data shows.

Coal ranks at the top of a list of Australia’s most exported items for 2007, published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with more than $20 billion worth of the stuff shipped overseas last year.

In fact, primary, untransformed commodities – from iron ore and gold to wheat and meat – made up 14 of the top 25 Australian exports by value in 2007. Education services was the highest ranking non-commodity export on the list, ranking third with a value of $12.5 billion.

The story is quite different on the import side of things, however. Although crude oil tops the list – reflecting Australia’s great hunger for the raw stuff of petroleum – it is otherwise dominated by elaborately transformed manufactured items such as cars, computers and telecommunications equipment.

In fact, gadgets and gizmos make precisely the same share of Australia’s import list as commodities do on the export side – 14 out of 25. Here’s hoping the resources boom still has some way to run.


Read more on exports, commodities and resources


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