Australia's Trade Minister has warned over the dangers of global trade tensions as the nation's trade hits a new high.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo used confirmation of 2017 as Australia's biggest year for trade to warn against establishing trade barriers.
"Everyone loses when barriers go up," Ciobo told News Corp Australia on Monday.
"Our ambitious market-opening agenda is a critical hedge against protectionism.
"We need to open markets to create new opportunities that drive economic growth. Closing markets shuts the door on opportunity and stunts economic growth."
According to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) report released on Friday, the total value of Australian exports in 2017 grew 14.8 percent to A$386 billion ($287.1 billion).
China remained Australia's biggest trade partner with two-way trade between the nations up 16 percent to A$183.4 ($136.4 billion).
Iron ore and concentrates, coal, education-related services, natural gas and inbound tourism were Australia's top five exports in 2017.
Australia's growing dependence on Asia was highlighted by Japan overtaking the US as the country's second most important economic partner with two-way trade worth A$71.9 billion ($53.4 billion) compared to A$68.4 billion ($50.8 billion) with the United States.
More than 70 percent of Australia's trade in 2017 was with countries it had free trade agreements (FTAs) with, up from 26 percent in 2012.
Ciobo said Australia has begun negotiations on FTAs with the European Union (EU), China's Hong Kong SAR and Indonesia.
"Once we conclude our negotiations currently under way, 88 percent of our trade will be covered by free-trade agreements," Ciobo said.