The Minerals Council of Australia is today releasing a fact sheet on the benefits of trade for the Australian community, which include higher growth, more jobs, better wages, lower prices and more competitive industries.

The new publication, 10 Facts About Australian Trade, sets out concise statistics and evidence to inform the community at a time when anti-trade scare campaigns pose a risk to Australia’s prosperity.

It explains the benefits of trade, including the fact that one in every five jobs relies on trade, and the costs of protectionist measures, which would increase the cost of living and hit low and middle income Australians hardest.

Key facts include:

  • Tariff cuts have delivered up to $3,900 a year to the average Australian family.
  • 2.7 million Australian jobs –from shop assistants and factory workers to truck drivers and farmers – rely on trade.
  • Australian businesses selling into export markets pay their workers 11.5 per cent more than businesses which do not engage in trade.
  • Shutting off trade would cut the purchasing power of the poorest 10 per cent of income earners by 63 per cent.

Australia has benefited from strong bipartisan political support for trade, which has contributed to our record period of uninterrupted economic growth over the last 25 years.

But with anti-trade scare campaigns being fomented at home and abroad, it is important to continue advocating the benefits of trade and calling out the costs of protectionism.

Low and middle-income families benefit more from trade than high-income earners – that makes protectionism regressive social policy as well as irrational economic policy.

The fact sheet has been supported by the MCA and four other business organisations – the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers Federation and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.

It comes as this week marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, which famously advanced the concept of comparative advantage.

Ricardo’s insight that all nations will be better off by trading with one another remains as important as ever in the light of today’s debates on trade and international engagement.

The fact sheet can be downloaded here.

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