Preparing to export

An overview of export markets

Exporting goods or services can open your business to new markets, boost sales and increase your growth potential. But as with any business venture, market research and planning are critical to success when it comes to exporting.

This article provides a short overview of key export markets around the globe.


China is Australia’s number one export market, accounting for 26.6% of Australian exports. The China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), established in December 2015, strengthened an already robust trade and investment relationship between the two countries and opened the door for Australian businesses to penetrate more deeply into our largest export market.

The Austrade website identifies several key industries presenting export opportunities in China:

  • aged care and healthcare
  • agribusiness
  • architecture and design
  • automotive
  • aviation training
  • consumer products (personal care, fashion)
  • environment and water management
  • financial services
  • food and beverage
  • global infrastructure
  • industrial design services
  • R&D development services and technology
  • startups
  • wine.


India is the world's fastest growing economy. By 2035, India is predicted to be the world’s third largest economy with more people than any other country. With more than half a billion internet users and a fast-growing middle-class population, India is a ready and growing market for Australia’s goods and services.

Although no India-Australia free trade agreement currently exists, India was the eighth most important trading partner for Australia and the fifth largest export market for Australian services in 2019.

Today, Australia’s largest exports to India are resources. Additionally, Austrade has identified increasing export opportunities in India across a number of industries, including:

  • education
  • tourism
  • infrastructure
  • agribusiness
  • mining equipment
  • technology and services (METS).

Middle East

The Middle East’s recent increase in demand for anything modern, innovative, new and futuristic has driven the need for Australian companies to act quickly and develop relationships to take advantage of the trade opportunities currently available in the region.

In the Middle East region, the United Arab Emirates is Australia’s most significant market, with exports to the country increasing by 6.3% between 2014 and 2019

According to Austrade, export growth industries in the United Arab Emirates and broader Middle East region include:

  • agribusiness
  • aviation and aerospace
  • civil services
  • food and beverage
  • mining
  • water solutions.

Are you preparing to export?

Whether you are an experienced exporter or exploring export opportunities for the first time, it's critical to understand what is required and to stay up to date. Our friendly team can guide you through the process of obtaining the right export documents you require to ensure smooth customs clearance and facilitate duty exemptions.


Australia and Japan have built strong economic, political and social ties over more than 50 years. In 2019, Japan was Australia’s second-largest export market, accounting for 13.1% of Australian exports.

The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) entered into force on the 15th January 2015. JAEPA eliminates or reduces barriers to trade in goods between Japan and Australia. This benefits Australian businesses that seek to export Australian goods to Japan or want to import Japanese goods for sale in Australia or for use as inputs into further manufacturing.

According to Austrade, export opportunities within the Japanese market are growing in the following industries:

  • aviation and aerospace 
  • cosmetics
  • defence
  • financial services
  • fruit and vegetables 
  • grains and pulses 
  • health and functional foods 
  • ICT  
  • M&A legal advisory services 
  • processed food 
  • seafood 
  • sporting events 
  • virtual and augmented reality  
  • wine.

Southeast Asia

By capitalising on the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, Southeast Asia – Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao and Burma – holds significant opportunities for Australian businesses. 

However, each nation has unique resources and are at various stages of development. It is critical to understand each of these nations are different and should be considered individually when developing an export strategy.

In 2019, Australia’s largest export markets in the Southeast Asia region were Singapore and Malaysia. According to Austrade, growth industries for exports to those two countries include:

  • aged care 
  • agriculture
  • automotive
  • aviation and aerospace 
  • building and construction 
  • business services
  • defence 
  • financial services 
  • food and agribusiness 
  • health and medical 
  • ICT and fintech
  • oil and gas
  • wine.

How can we help?

Business Australia has a range of resources for your business. Get support managing your employees, reducing your business costs, accessing business funding, and marketing your business. 

Already a member? Get started

Found this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the best business tips and articles straight to your inbox.

Please enter the thanks you text here.

We take your privacy seriously and by subscribing to our newsletter you agree to the terms of our Privacy Policy available below.