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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Relations With Australia

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 4, 2015


More information about Australia is available on the Australia Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


2015 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Australia; the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1940 following the United Kingdom's recognition of Australia's domestic and external autonomy within the British Empire. Australia is a vital ally and the United States and Australia maintain a robust partnership underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, as well as cultural and historical similarities. Ties range from commercial, academic, and environmental, to defense cooperation. Australian forces have fought together with the United States military in every significant conflict since World War I. The ANZUS security treaty, concluded in 1951, serves as the foundation of defense and security cooperation between the countries. It was invoked for the first time, by Australia, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The United States and Australia work closely in Afghanistan, Iraq, and on counter-terrorism issues world-wide, including efforts to address the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters and violent extremism. The United States and Australia are working together to advance force posture initiatives in Australia, which President Obama announced in Canberra in 2011. The two countries signed the U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement at the annual Australia-United States Ministerial consultations (AUSMIN) in August 2014, which paves the way for even closer defense and security cooperation. The United States and Australia attach high priority to controlling and eventually eliminating chemical weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and anti-personnel landmines, and cooperate on global environmental issues such as climate change and preserving marine environments. The ANZUS Treaty with the United States enjoys broad bipartisan support in Australia as its pre-eminent formal security treaty alliance. In addition to AUSMIN, Australia and the United States engage in a trilateral security dialogue with Japan. Overall, the U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor for peace and stability not only in the Asia-Pacific region but around the world.

A number of U.S. institutions conduct cooperative scientific activities in Australia because of its geographical position, large land mass, and advanced technology. The two countries have signed tax and defense trade cooperation treaties as well as agreements on science and technology, emergency management cooperation, and social security. They also have concluded a mutual legal assistance treaty, enhancing bilateral cooperation on legal and counter-narcotics issues. The United States and Australia are responding to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and supporting the Global Health Security Agenda to accelerate measureable progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

U.S. Assistance to Australia

The United States provides no development assistance to Australia.

Bilateral Economic Relations

U.S. exports to Australia include machinery, vehicles, optic and medical instruments, aircraft, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Australia include precious stones/metals, agricultural products, and optic and medical instruments. The United States is by far the largest foreign investor in Australia, accounting for over a quarter of its foreign investment. The 2005 Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement has nearly doubled our goods trade and increased our services trade by more than 122 percent.

The two countries share a commitment to liberalizing global trade and work closely in the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The United States and Australia are working to conclude Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations that will develop a trade agreement between 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific. As founding members of the Equal Futures Partnership, both countries collaborate to expand economic opportunities for women and increase women’s participation in leadership positions in politics, civic society, and economic life.

Australia's Membership in International Organizations

Australia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, G-20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and World Trade Organization. Australia is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an Enhanced Partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and a member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Australia is John Berry; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Australia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-797-3000).

More information about Australia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Australia Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Australia Page
U.S. Embassy: Australia
History of U.S. Relations With Australia
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics International Offices Page
Travel and Business Information

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