Australia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.

Last published date: 2021-08-16
  • US goods exports to Australia in 2019: USD25,990.1 billion1
  • Australia’s rank as a US export market in 2019: 16th largest2
  • World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2019 Rank: 14 of 1903

In 2018 Australia was the world’s 13th largest economy with a GDP of USD1.32 trillion4

Australia–US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) has significantly stimulated US-Australian trade and investment since its entry into force in 2005.

In 2019, U.S. exports of goods to Australia were USD26 billion, up almost three percent from 2018, and imports from Australia were USD10.8 billion, up eight percent from 2018. For trade in goods, America’s trade surplus with Australia in 2019 remained relatively unchanged at USD15.2 billion.  This is one of the largest trade surpluses the United States has with any country.

In 2019, Australia completed its 28th year of uninterrupted economic growth and has surpassed the previous developed record of 26 years held by the Netherlands.  Australia’s GDP grew by 1.7% in 2019. The start of 2020, prior to the initial economic impact of COVID-19,  was somewhat buoyed by the previous year’s non-mining business investment and significant public infrastructure investment.  With few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, sophisticated consumer and industrial sectors, and a straightforward, Englishspeaking business culture, Australia remains an important and receptive market for American goods and services.

Source: Reserve Bank of Australia

Australia welcomes foreign investment as an essential contributor to economic growth and productivity.  The United States is Australia’s largest foreign investor – with a stock of investment at the end of 2019 valued at USD700 billion. Around 1,400 American companies operate in Australia in a wide variety of sectors.  US direct investment in Australia is concentrated in mining, oil and gas, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. 

Source for investment statistics:   Australian Bureau of Statistics

Since coming into force on January 1, 2005, the AUSFTA has reduced investment thresholds, provided greater intellectual property protection, and fostered greater two-way trade and investment.  Because of the AUSFTA, over 99 % of US exports now enter Australia duty-free.

Source:   Bureau of Economic Analysis

Australia has a well-established legal system for litigation and arbitration. The country is a world leader in the development and provision of dispute resolution mechanisms and is a signatory to all the major international dispute resolution conventions. Australia has an AAA international credit rating with a well-developed, sophisticated financial market, regulated in accordance with international norms. Australia’s four leading banks are highly ranked internationally in terms of financial security and liquidity.

Australia has a large services sector and is a world leader in mineral and LNG extraction and food production. Australia’s abundant and diverse resources attract high levels of foreign investment, and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources. 

1. Source:  U.S. Department of Census

2. Source:  TradeStats Express™, International Trade Administration

3. Source:   World Bank Indicator

4. Source:   World Bank GDP Rankings