Medicines top of hi-tech exporters list for 2011-12

The medicines industry was the Australian manufacturing sector’s biggest high-tech export earner in 2011-12 according to figures published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The new ABS report shows exports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products totaled $4.059 billion in 2011-12, up from $3.744 billion in 2010-11.

By comparison, exports for the car industry in 2011-12 were $2.767 billion, and for the wine industry $2.032 billion (see chart below).

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said the growth of pharmaceutical exports highlights the Australian medicines industry’s sustained contribution to the economy.

“By any measure, this is an outstanding export performance,” Dr Shaw said.

“While the majority of other manufacturers are losing ground, medicines industry exports grew 7 per cent over the last year.

“In terms of export earnings for 2012, the medicines industry was almost $1.3 billion ahead of its nearest rival, the car industry.

“This is an incredible achievement when you take into account the performance of the broader manufacturing sector, the high dollar and the fact that the medicines industry receives no co-investment from government.

“This kind of result highlights just how resilient the medicines industry is given the prevailing market conditions, and underscores the industry’s potential to be a key player in the post-mining boom economy.

“The Australian medicines industry is a high-skill, high-wage, science-based, innovative, low carbon footprint industry and an equal opportunity employer.

“As a nation we already earn more in exports from medicines than cars or wine, but with revamped policy settings and incentives from Government we could build the Australian medicines industry into one of our key innovative export industries.

“Asian countries currently account for approximately half of pharmaceutical exports from Australia.

“With the right policy incentives, Australian medicines exports to Asia could increase fivefold by 2020. Given our proximity and the expanding Asian market, the opportunities are tremendous.”


NOTE: The export figures can be downloaded from the ABS website: ABS catalogue 5368.0 International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, Table 12a. MERCHANDISE EXPORTS, Standard International Trade Classification (1 and 2 digit), FOB Value, June 2012

Pharmaceutical exports vs. other manufactured exports 12 months to June 2012

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