Australia and the European Union (EU) enjoy a constructive and substantial bilateral relationship built on a shared commitment to freedom and democratic values and a like-minded approach to a broad range of international issues.
Australia and the EU work together to support global efforts to combat terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons, and to promote peace, sustainable development, good governance and human rights.
Australia and the EU cooperate increasingly closely in the Indo-Pacific region, including to enhance security, stability and good governance, and to improve the coordination of development cooperation assistance among donors to the region. The EU is a significant provider of development assistance to the Pacific and South East Asia.
As a bloc, the EU27 is Australia’s third largest two-way trading partner (after China and Japan), with total two-way goods and services trade worth $85 billion in 2018-19, largely in favour of the EU. Merchandise trade totals $63 billion, and trade in services over $22 billion, making the EU Australia’s second largest two-way trade in services partner after the US.
The EU as a bloc is the second largest foreign investor in Australia, with close to $650 billion invested in the country, with the total two-way investment relationship totalling almost $1 trillion. Two-way FDI was valued at $171.8 billion.
Australia and the UK have a significant and comprehensive relationship underpinned by shared heritage, common values, strong people-to-people links, closely aligned strategic outlook and interests and substantial trade and investment links.
The UK and Australia enjoy a high level of cooperation across a wide range of foreign policy, defence, security, intelligence, trade and economic issues. The two Governments have secured a series of agreements and partnerships covering a wide range of sectors of shared interest.
There is also frequent bilateral collaboration and dialogue at the highest levels across government on global issues such as international security, multilateral cooperation and economic issues on the G20 agenda. The Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) is the premier bilateral forum on foreign policy, defence and security issues where ministers look for ways in which Australia and the UK can work together more effectively to deal with contemporary global challenges.
While the EU as a whole has been Australia’s largest economic partner, a significant proportion of this bilateral relationship has occurred directly with, or through the UK. As a familiar and attractive destination for Australian companies expanding their interests abroad, the UK has often served as a preferred gateway and regional headquarters within the European Single Market.
In 2018 the two-way investment relationship with the UK continued to be Australia’s second largest at around $982 billion. The UK was also in Australia’s top 10 largest trading partners with two-way trade of over $30 billion.