Australia & The EU

The European Union, with a total population more than half a billion people, and a combined economy worth around $15 trillion (based on IMF forecasts), including some fast growing Member State economies, offers expanded trade and investment opportunities for Australia.

The European Union, as a single trading bloc, constitutes one of Australia’s largest trading partners, and Australia’s largest foreign investor.

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. In 2012 they celebrated 50 years of formal diplomatic relations.

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 Asia-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.

Australia and the EU have a convergence of views on many global economic issues and cooperate to promote international prosperity in the WTO and G20.

The 28 members of the EU as a bloc constitute one of Australia’s largest trading and investment partners.

The EU is Australia’s second largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment. In 2015 two-way merchandise trade was valued at $59.5 billion and two-way services trade was worth $29.9 billion. In 2015 Australia exported $23.5 billion worth of goods and services to the EU. Australia’s major merchandise exports to the EU include, coal, oil seeds, alcoholic beverages (primarily wine), ores and concentrates, lead and gold. The major merchandise imports from the EU include passenger motor vehicles, medicaments (incl. veterinary), and pharmaceutical products. In 2015, the EU’s foreign direct investment in Australia totalled $157.6 billion – 21.4 per cent of Australia’s total inwards foreign direct investment. The EU accounted for $111.8 billion of outwards Australian direct investment as at 2015.

Australia’s major services export to the EU in 2015 was personal travel services (mainly recreational travel) – worth $5.3 billion. Personal travel services were also the largest single services import from the EU during the same period with a value of $7.5 billion.

The Australia–EU Partnership Framework currently sets out the direction of bilateral cooperation, and the Australian Prime Minister together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission agreed in a joint statement on 15 November 2015 to start the process towards a comprehensive and high-quality Free Trade Agreement (FTA).