The estimated value of Australian defence export permits in fiscal year 2020–21 reached about AUD2.7 billion (USD2 billion), according to recently published official statistics.
The figure represents a decline compared with the past two years, with the fall linked to trade challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australian defence exports have declined in the past year due to challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Australian Defence Export Controls)
In 2019–20 the estimated value of export permits was AUD5.2 billion. A year earlier it was AUD4.9 billion.
The statistics are sourced from the Defence Export Controls, an agency under the Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra.
They show that the number of export permit applications in 2020–21 was about 3,600. In 2019–20 and 2018–19 the figures were 3,550 and 4,000, respectively.
In terms of markets, the data shows that North America remains Australia's strongest region, followed by Europe. In 2020–21 around half of all export permits were issued to support Australian sales to these two regions.
Other prominent regions in 2020–21 were New Zealand and Asia. Around 12% of export permits were issued to Australian end-users. Such permits supported demonstrations and repairs.
Despite the decline in the value of export permits in 2020–21, the figure suggests resilience in Australian defence exports.
The value of permits in 2020–21 is still higher than those issued in 2017–18 and 2016–17. In these two years the values were AUD1.5 billion and AUD1.1 billion. In 2015–16, the value of permits was AUD4.2 billion.
However, these figures are likely influenced by a ruling introduced from 2018. This required exporters to include in their application an estimated value of the export over the period of the permit.