United States

Bilateral relations

The US was Australia's 2nd largest bilateral trading partner in 2020. Total goods and services trade between the US and Australia amounted to almost $73 billion in 2020 (9.1% of Australia’s total trade portfolio). The two parties signed a free trade agreement in 2004, which allows most Australian exports significant access into the US market and encourages greater bilateral investment. There are more than 4,000 Australian parent companies with 1,500 individual entities in the US, and more than 3,000 individual points of presence. Major Australian firms in the US include Austal, BHP, Rio Tinto, Incitec Pivot, LendLease, Macquarie Group, and Servcorp. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted bilateral trade. Major Australian goods exports include gold, beef, pharmaceutical products and aircraft, spacecraft and parts. Major goods imports from the US include aircraft, spacecraft and parts, passenger motor vehicles, crude petroleum and pharmaceutical products.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated international travel restrictions have hurt services trade over the past couple of years. US student enrolments in Australia stood at about 9,000 in 2020 and fell to about 3,500 in 2021, well below pre-pandemic levels. US tourist arrivals fell sharply in 2020 and dropped further in 2021. The ongoing pandemic points to another year of uncertainty for services exports in 2022. Longer term, rising incomes in the US will likely support recovery in demand for Australian education and tourism.

The US remains Australia’s largest two-way investment partner. Annual bilateral investment has totalled $1.8 trillion over the past few years. Leading sectors for US investment in Australia are mining, finance and insurance. Australian investment in the US focuses on agriculture, resources and energy, infrastructure, education, health, advanced manufacturing, defence and fintech.