BCEC Report

Trading Up: International trade futures and the Western Australian economy

Report SeriesFocus on Industry
PublishedJuly 2023
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Number of Pages120

The eighth report in the BCEC Focus on Industry report series, Trading Up: International trade futures and the Western Australian economy, examines the benefits, opportunities and challenges that exist for the WA economy in relation to trade and investment.

The report explores the scale and scope of these challenges and highlight the opportunities for WA’s future economic prosperity.

Key findings:

  • WA exports contribute significantly to both the state and national economy. In the year to April 2023, WA’s merchandise exports accounted for 45 percent of Australian exports and were valued at almost $273 billion ($606 billion nationally).
  • Australia’s active pursuit of free trade agreements has brought major economic benefits. The federal government must continue to secure free trade agreements and maintain positive economic ties with key trading partners, particularly as they relate to the nation’s position in the Indian Ocean.
  • Businesses need to be export ready, and continuously looking towards new markets and trade opportunities. Together with the enablers provided by government, business must look to upskill workers and technological capabilities to ensure that production processes and products are positioned to be at the forefront of global innovation.
  • Among the manufactured goods consumed by households in WA, imported goods constitute 29 percent of the overall total. On average, households in WA would experience a 4.3 percent rise in expenses if they were to consume the same products obtained from countries outside of Australia’s primary trading partners.
  • WA has a far stronger trade profile in products connected to environmental improvements than the equivalent national profile. WA’s green exports increased from just below 50 percent of total exports in 2015 to more than 65 percent by 2021. This translates to a more than threefold increase in value terms from $51 billion in 2015 to $157 billion by 2021.
  • WA has a bright future in green trade and growth and is well positioned to remain at the forefront of Australian trade in a decarbonised world. However, it is important that the required policy and infrastructure supports are in place to ensure that the benefits of the global green transition are maximised by the state.