Australia and United States economic partnership

Australia and the United States are trusted trade and investment partners, conducting US$77 billion in two-way trade and an investment relationship valued at US$1.6 trillion, making the United States Australia’s largest economic partner. Approximately a quarter of Australia’s inward foreign investment is from the United States (US$740 billion or AUD$1.09 trillion).

Trade between the US and Australia is underpinned by the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) which came into effect in 2005. Since AUSFTA, two-way trade has grown by 138%.

Some key indicators are:

  • US trade with Australia supports US jobs: Australian companies employ approximately 150,000 people in the US, including around 19,000 in both California and Texas.
  • Australia has a diverse economy which is reflected in our economic relationship with the United States: In California for example, there are Australian companies operating in 83 different industries.
  • Australia’s largest exports to the US are financial services, gold, sheep/goat meat, transportations services and vaccines.
  • US direct investment in Australia is more than in any other country in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The largest American exports to Australia include financial services, travel services, telecoms/computer/information services, royalties and trucks.
  • The US runs a large trade surplus with Australia.

Over 12,000 Australian companies export to the United States. Noteable Australian investors in the US include: Woodside, Westfield, Brambles, Atlassian, Worley, Visy, Bluestone Lane, Rio Tinto and Tritium.

The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) entered into force on 1 January 2005. Over 97% of Australia's non-agricultural exports to the United States (excluding textiles and clothing) are now duty free, and three quarters of agricultural tariff lines have been eliminated. Under AUSFTA, Australian companies also have access to the federal government procurement market in the United States (valued at US$637 billion), and the government procurement markets of 31 US states. The trade and investment relationship has flourished under AUSFTA, with two-way trade growing from US$32 billion to US$77 billion since it came into force.

Australia and the United States have a record of working together closely to further economic prosperity through free and open trade. Australia and the United States worked closely in establishing the G20, and work together in global and regional trade and economic fora, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Invest in Australia

Australia is the world’s 13th largest economy. Australia’s highly skilled workforce, robust economy, trusted legal system and stable society make it an attractive place to invest. The stock of foreign investment in Australia exceeds $735 billion.

Five reasons to invest in Australia

  1. 27 years of uninterrupted annual economic growth: Australia's strong, diverse and growing economy adds up to more opportunitiesAustralia’s economy is underpinned by strong institutions, an exceptional services sector and an ability to respond to global change.
  2. World-class innovation: Australia supports world-class, globally significant research and development opportunities.
  3. World's fastest growing region:  With strong trade links, strategic location, a favorable time zone and a highly educated, multilingual workforce, Australia is uniquely positioned as a location to do business in the Indo-Pacific.
  4. Easy to run a business: Ranked in the global top five on the Index of Economic Freedom, Australia’s effective governance provides multinationals with a safe, secure business environment.
  5. Highly skilled workforce: Australia's multilingual workforce is among the most educated and diverse in the world.

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The Australian Government encourages Australian enterprises operating overseas and multinational enterprises operating in Australia to observe the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Guidelines provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a variety of areas, including:

  • human rights;
  • employment and industrial relations;
  • environment;
  • combating bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion;
  • consumer interests;
  • science and technology;
  • competition; and
  • taxation.

The Australian National Contact Point (AusNCP) promotes the use of the OECD Guidelines and contributes to the resolution of issues relating to their implementation, including facilitating access to conciliation services.

Business Resources

Download the United States of America country economic fact sheet [PDF] - prepared by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Do business with Australia: Find support, programs and services to help your business via The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).

Read Business success stories and learn how The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) can help your business.