Canada - Australia Relations

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. Canada also works closely with Australia through multilateral institutions, including the UN, Commonwealth, World Trade Organization, G20, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Cairns Group and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

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.

Commercial relations

Canada’s commercial relationship with Australia is strong and diversified. In 2017, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Australia remained stable at $3.9 billion. Canadian exports were valued at $2 billion and largely composed of value-added products, such as agricultural goods (e.g. frozen pork, vegetable oils and whiskey), aerospace products, industrial machinery and information communications technologies. Imports were valued at $1.9 billion and included chemical products, agricultural goods (e.g. wine, frozen beef and sheep meat), precious metals, medical devices and industrial machinery. Bilateral services trade was valued at about $2.9 billion, with Canadian exports accounting for approximately $1.8 billion of that total.

In addition to traditional sectors, such as mining and transportation, the infrastructure sector offers significant opportunities for Canadian businesses. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission is anticipating overall capital expenditures of up to $125 billion in greenfield and brownfield projects until 2019 to 2020, resulting in major opportunities for Canadian tier one engineering, procurement, and construction management companies, and tier two and three equipment and service providers.

At the end of 2017, Statistics Canada valued two-way direct investment between Canada and Australia at $39.3 billion, with Canadian direct investment in Australia amounting to $27.8 billion and Australian direct investment in Canada increasing to $11.5 billion. Australia is the eighth-largest global destination for Canadian direct investment abroad and is by far the largest destination in the Asia-Pacific region. 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 12th-largest source of foreign direct investment in 2017, and fourth-largest source from Asia after Japan, China and Hong Kong. Australian companies employ approximately 20,000 people in Canada, with energy as the most important sector.

Consular 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, 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.

July 2018