The bulwark of Australia's trade had traditionally always been with Britain, but in the 1950s "the long-term decline in trade with the United Kingdom was plainly evident and would deteriorate even more rapidly as the UK moved from the late 1950s, towards integration with the European Economic Community". When Britain finally joined the giant trade bloc of the EEC in 1973 (12 years after its original application), the large British export market that Australia depended upon so much began to dry up(33). Therefore, Australian businessmen began to look to other foreign markets to sell their export goods. Asia, with its large populations, increasing economic importance, and close proximity, began to look more and more attractive to a growing number of Australia's businessmen and politicians.
Australian trade with Britain, continental Europe, the U.S.A., Canada, and New Zealand was about 77% in 1950 (75.3% of imports, 78.4% of exports), but had declined to 42% by 1995 (54.2% of imports, 28.0% of exports); while trade with Asia rose from about 17% in 1950 (18.3% of imports, 15.6% of exports) to about 53% in 1990 (41.7% of imports, 65.1% of exports). Australian trade with Japan in 1995 accounted for 20.5% of all trade (being 28.0% of all Australian trade with Asia).
TRADE WITH ASIA: A COMPARISON, SELECTED YEARS
(Australian trade: Basic statistics) (34*)