The most notable free trade agreement though has been the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA). Enforced in 1983, the ANZCERTA built on the 1965 New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, not to be mistaken for the North American Free Trade Agreement). The ANZCERTA has greatly integrated both economies and there are now plans to create a single Australasian economic market by 2015.
However, Australia’s recent economic progress has been heavily reliant on trade with China. In 2009, China became Australia's largest export market, surpassing Japan.
Resources continue to underpin Australia’s exports to China. Australia exported 266.2 million tonnes of iron ore to China in 2009, an increase of 45.2 per cent over the same period.
China is also Australia’s largest source of imports. Major imports from China include clothing, communications equipment, computers, prams, toys, games and sporting goods, furniture and televisions.
The vast scale of trade with China has also seen massive investments by Chinese companies in Australia. The majority of these investments has been in the resources sector, where Chinese companies have not only invested in Australian mining companies, but have now also started to lease land from the Australian government to mine resources on their own.
Total value of exports: US$210.7 billion
Primary exports - commodities: coal, iron ore, gold, meat, wool, alumina, wheat, machinery and transport equipment
Primary exports partners: China (21.81 percent), Japan (19.19 percent), South Korea (7.88 percent), India (7.51 percent), US (4.95 percent), UK (4.37 percent), NZ (4.1 percent)
Total value of imports: US$200.4 billion
Primary imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, computers and office machines, telecommunication equipment and parts; crude oil and petroleum products
Primary imports partners: China (17.94 percent), US (11.26 percent), Japan (8.36 percent), Thailand (5.81 percent), Singapore (5.54 percent), Germany (5.3 percent)
Read more about Australia's economy, including industry information and forecasts on EconomyWatch below.
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