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Canada and Australia enjoy strong and multifaceted bilateral relations. Canada regularly consults with Australia to advance common interests on international issues, based on their policy convergence in many areas, including defence and security, trade, economic growth, migration, transportation, Indigenous, social, cultural, academic and regional issues. Canada’s defence relationship with Australia is its largest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Official relations between Canada and Australia are conducted through respective foreign ministries and the diplomatic missions in each other's country. In Australia, this is the High Commission of Canada in Canberra and the Consulate General in Sydney. There are also Canadian Honorary Consuls in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. In Canada, the Australian High Commission is located in Ottawa, and there is a Consulate-General in Toronto. There is also an Australian Honorary Consul in Vancouver.
The foreign ministries of Canada and Australia exchange officers for professional development purposes, and similar exchange agreements exist between other government departments.
About 50,223 people who live in Australia are born in Canada according to the 2021 Australian census, and 25,200 people who live in Canada are born in Australia according to the 2021 Canadian census.
Consular and mission sharing
The Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement allows Canadians to receive consular services from Australian officials in a number of countries where Canada does not have an office, and vice versa. Furthermore, Canada and Australia share diplomatic facilities, including the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, where Australia has been provided space; the Australian embassy in Laos, where Canada has a diplomatic office; and the Australian High Commission in Fiji, where Canada also has space.
Academic and cultural relations
As of 2018, Canadian universities had 363 formal institutional agreements with Australian universities, in addition to further informal agreements between researchers. For the year 2022, there were 785 study permit holders from Australia in Canada.
Canada’s commercial relationship with Australia is strong and diversified. In addition to traditional sectors such as mining and transportation, there are significant opportunities offered in the infrastructure sector for Canadian businesses. In 2022, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Australia totaled $5.8 billion. Canadian exports were valued at $3.1 billion and top exports were machinery, pharmaceuticals, precious metals, sulfur, aircrafts & parts, scientific & precision instruments, and vehicles & parts. Imports were valued at $2.7 billion and top imports were inorganic chemicals, meat, precious metals, beverages, scientific & precision instruments, mineral ores, and machinery. Bilateral services trade in 2022 was valued at about $2.6 billion, with Canadian exports accounting for $1.4 billion of that total.
In 2022, Canadian direct investment into Australia amounted to $57.9 billion while Australia’s foreign direct investment into Canada totaled $24.9 billion. This is an increase from $45.4 billion and $18.52 billion in 2021. With its strong focus on Asia and its favorable business climate, many Canadian companies see Australia as a springboard to the booming Southeast Asian region.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into force in 2018, has resulted in an annual 8.7% growth in bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Australia from 2018 to 2022.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Australia work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN)
- Open Government Partnership (OGP)
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Pacific Alliance
- Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
- Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP)
- High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (The Ocean Panel)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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