Canada-Australia relations are friendly and highly productive. The relationship has developed over a long history and is based on both a shared past and a common set of values in the fields of trade, defence relations, academic and student exchanges, culture, consular arrangements, parliamentary relations, multilateral cooperation and political and governmental affairs.
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, illegal migration, counterterrorism, counter-proliferation, social (including Indigenous peoples), transportation 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. In Canada, the Australian High Commission is located in Ottawa, and there is a consulate general in Toronto.
The foreign affairs departments of Canada and Australia exchange officers for professional development purposes, and similar exchange agreements exist between other government departments.
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, and the Australian embassy in Laos, where Canada has a diplomatic office.
Academic and cultural relations
There are more than 180 formal agreements between Australian and Canadian universities, almost 300 members of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand and more than 2,000 Australian and Canadian students enrolled in universities in each other’s country.
Canada's commercial relationship with Australia is strong and diversified. In 2020, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Australia fell 2.3% to $4.5 billion. Canadian merchandise exports were valued at $2.1 billion and largely composed of value-added products such as machinery, aircraft and parts, cereal, motor vehicles and parts, and electrical machinery. Imports were valued at $2.4 billion and included inorganic chemicals, precious stones and metals, meat, beverages (mainly wine), and scientific and precision instruments. Bilateral services trade in 2020 was valued at $1.9 billion, with Canadian exports accounting for approximately $1.1 billion of that total.
In addition to traditional sectors such as mining and transportation, there are significant opportunities offered in the infrastructure sector for Canadian businesses.
At the end of 2020, two-way direct investment stocks between Canada and Australia were at $64.9 billion, with Canadian direct investment in Australia amounting to $47.2 billion and Australian direct investment in Canada at $17.7 billion. Australia is the fifth largest global destination for Canadian direct investment abroad and the largest destination in Asia and Oceania. With its strong focus on Asia and its favourable business climate, Australia is seen by many Canadian companies as a good springboard to the booming Southeast Asian region. Australia ranked as Canada's 11th largest source of FDI in 2020 and 4th largest source from Asia after Japan, China and Hong Kong.
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)
- 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
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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