New South Wales—Chinese demand supports a surge in pharmaceutical exports

Pharmaceutical products were the largest contributor to New South Wales manufacturing export growth in 2018. Receipts were worth A$1.9b in 2018, a 33% increase from 2017 (Chart). China has been a key market over the last few years accounting for 63% of total pharmaceutical receipts in NSW up from 23% in 2014.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated tariffs on pharmaceuticals by up to 10% by 1 Jan 2019, has contributed to the rapid increase in exports of vitamins and nutritional supplements. The industry has also been boosted by the entry of new biotech companies producing vaccines, drugs, as well as undertaking research and development. These trends are also present at the national level.

Demand for Australian pharmaceutical products will continue to be supported by an ageing population in Asia, increased appetite for consumer healthcare products, and Australia’s reputation as a high-quality producer. Both New South Wales and Australia are poised to benefit from further growth in pharmaceutical export revenue over the coming years.

Fig 2 New South Wales Pharmaceutical Exports