Australian Trade by State and Territory 2017-18 presents international trade statistics for each state and territory of Australia as collected by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The publication is divided into nine sections—one overview section and a section for each of the six states and two territories. The first section provides an overview of Australia’s trade performance in 2017-18, along with summary comparison data by state and territory on a balance of payments basis. Each of the following eight sections provides detailed data on merchandise and services trade for each state and territory.

Caution needs to be exercised in interpreting these statistics, in particular when analysing state/territory trade flows or comparing differences between states/territories. Merchandise exports are based on State of origin and imports on State of final destination (in which goods are released from Customs’ control, but not necessarily where they are ultimately sold or consumed). Services exports are based on State of provision while services imports are based on State of consumption. Because of these differences, merchandise and services statistics, particularly for imports, in this publication are not always comparable.

For example, New South Wales and Victoria (accounting for around 40 per cent of Australian merchandise imports) dominate imports of merchandise goods. National distribution centres for many imported products are located in these states, so a proportion of these imports are sent on to neighbouring states or territories.

Export statistics for merchandise and services are more comparable than import statistics. However, merchandise export statistics may not always be accurately reported on a State of origin basis. For example, it would be possible for some goods originating from Tasmania and exported from the Victorian Port of Melbourne to be inadvertently recorded in Customs’ documentation as being exported from Victoria, rather than Tasmania.

The distribution of Australia’s population and exporting industries between states and territories can distort the net trade position (exports minus imports) for each state/territory. For example, the Northern Territory exports nearly two times the amount of goods and services compared to the amount it imports. The small population in the Northern Territory means lower consumption of imports, but exports (especially of agricultural and mining products) are high compared to the population.

To avoid divulging commercially-sensitive details of individual firms, the ABS restricts the release of certain Commodity, State/Territory and Country details in both merchandise and services statistics. As a result, certain export and import statistics by state/territory may be inconsistent. For example, natural gas exports are included in total exports by Western Australia, but are not included in Western Australia’s exports by country, as those data are deemed confidential.

For more information regarding the statistics in this publication, please refer to the Explanatory notes in the Technical Appendices.

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