Australia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview
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U.S. goods exports to Australia in 2022: US$30.6 billion1

Australia’s rank as a U.S. export market in 2022: 16th largest1

In 2022, Australia’s GDP per capita was US$68,701, the eight highest among OECD economies2

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

1 Source:  TradeStats ExpressTM, International Trade Administration

2 Source: OECD data from 

Australia is one of the United States’ most important trade partners and the bilateral commercial relationship is critical for economic development and job creation in both countries.  In 2022, U.S. exports of goods to Australia were US$30.6 billion, up from US$26.5 billion recorded in 2021.  Imports from Australia were US$16.2 billion, up from US$12.5 billion in 2021.  For trade in goods, America’s trade surplus with Australia in 2022 was US$14.4 billion.  The trade surplus with Australia remains one of the largest the United States has with any country.  In 2020 Australia experienced its first recession in nearly 30 years, but from the second half of 2020 and into 2023 the country has seen continued positive growth.

With few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, sophisticated consumer and industrial sectors, and a straightforward, English-speaking business culture, Australia remains an important and receptive market for American goods and services.

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 2022 valued at US$740 billion.  Around 1,700 American companies operate in Australia in a wide variety of sectors.  U.S. direct investment in Australia is concentrated in mining, oil and gas, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.

(Source for investment statistics: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

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 U.S. exports now enter Australia duty-free.

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.

Political Environment

Australia is a vital ally, partner, and friend of the United States. Our two countries maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities. Economic, academic, and people-to-people ties are vibrant and strong. Our partnership promotes peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. The United States and Australia marked the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2020.

Bilateral defense ties and cooperation are exceptionally close. U.S. and Australian forces have fought side-by-side for more than one hundred years, in every major conflict since World War I, beginning with the Battle of Hamel in 1918. In 2022, the United States and Australia marked the 80th anniversary of several key World War II battles, including the Battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. Moreover, 2021 marked the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Australia, New Zealand, and United States (ANZUS) treaty, Australia’s pre-eminent alliance, which enjoys broad bipartisan support. Australia invoked ANZUS for the first time in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Since then, the two countries have taken additional steps to pave the way for closer defense and security ties. These have included the annual rotation of Marines to Darwin, which completed a tenth year of exercises in 2021, and enhanced rotations of U.S. Air Force aircraft to Australia. Additionally, they signed the U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement at the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in August 2014. In October 2015, the U.S. and Australian defense agencies also signed a Joint Statement on Defense Cooperation to guide future cooperation. Finally, in 2021, the United States and Australia led their ninth Talisman Saber, a biennial joint military exercise designed to ensure and demonstrate the ability of the two defense forces to work together with the highest levels of interoperability.

The United States and Australia share a strong interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, overflight, and other lawful uses of the sea, including in the South China Sea. Australia and the United States engage in a trilateral security dialogue and infrastructure partnership with Japan, and collaborate with Japan and India in the Quad, to solve the region’s most pressing crises. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced an enhanced trilateral security partnership (AUKUS), further solidifying security cooperation between the partners. AUKUS aims to provide Australia with a conventionally armed, nuclear powered submarine capability as soon as possible, while upholding the highest non‑proliferation standards. The partnership will develop and provide joint advanced military capabilities to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Arms control and counter-proliferation is another area of close U.S.-Australia cooperation.

The United States and Australia share a long history of cooperation in other areas as well. In 1949, the United States and Australia signed an agreement that established the Fulbright program. Since then, more than 5,000 Australians and Americans have received Fulbright scholarships. The United States and Australia have concluded a mutual legal assistance treaty to enhance bilateral cooperation on legal and counter-narcotics issues. The two countries have also signed tax and defense trade cooperation treaties, as well as agreements on health cooperation,

space, science and technology, emergency management cooperation, and social security. Many U.S. institutions conduct cooperative scientific activities in Australia. The United States and Australia responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the Quad Vaccine Partnership (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) and the COVID-19 Global Action Plan. The United States and Australia have also worked together to support Global Health Security Agenda efforts to prepare for and respond to future pandemics and infectious disease threats.

For more information on the political and economic environment of the country, please click on the link to the U.S. Department of State Background Notes