U.S. Relations With Australia

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fact Sheet
August 23, 2018


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.

U.S.-AUSTRALIA RELATIONS

Australia is a vital ally, partner, and friend of the United States. The United States and Australia maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities. Economic, academic, and people-to-people ties are vibrant and strong. The two countries marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2015. In 2017, the United States and Australia marked the 75th anniversary of a number of key World War II battles, including the Battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. On July 4, 2018, the two countries marked 100 Years of Mateship (Friendship) since U.S. and Australian forces fought side-by-side for the first time at the Battle of Hamel.

Defense ties and cooperation are exceptionally close. U.S. and Australian forces have fought together in every significant conflict since World War I. The Australia, New Zealand and United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty, concluded in 1951, is Australia’s pre-eminent security treaty alliance and enjoys broad bipartisan support. It was invoked for the first time – by Australia – in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The two countries signed the U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement at the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in August 2014, paving the way for even closer defense and security cooperation, including the annual rotation of Marines to Darwin and enhanced rotations of U.S. Air Force aircraft to Australia. In October 2015, the U.S. and Australian defense agencies signed a Joint Statement on Defense Cooperation to serve as a guide for future cooperation. In 2017, the United States and Australia participated in the seventh Talisman Saber, a biennial joint military exercise designed to ensure and demonstrate the ability of the two defense forces to work together with the highest levels of interoperability.

The U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. U.S. and Australian bilateral security cooperation activities enhance the stability and resiliency of the Indo-Pacific region. Both countries share a strong interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea, including in the South China Sea. They work closely in Afghanistan and Iraq, and cooperate on efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and address the challenges and counter foreign terrorist fighters and violent extremism. Arms control and counter-proliferation is another area of close U.S.-Australia cooperation. In addition to AUSMIN consultations, Australia and the United States engage in a trilateral security dialogue with Japan.

The first treaty signed between the United States and Australia was the 1949 agreement that established the Fulbright program, and since then more than 5,000 Australians and Americans have received Fulbright scholarships. The United States and Australia have concluded a mutual legal assistance treaty to enhance bilateral cooperation on legal and counter-narcotics issues. The two countries have also signed tax and defense trade cooperation treaties, as well as agreements on health cooperation, space, science and technology, emergency management cooperation, and social security. In February 2018, OPIC and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on joint infrastructure investment in the Pacific. In July of 2018, the United States, Australia, and Japan announced they would work together on a trilateral basis to invest in infrastructure projects in the region. A number of U.S. institutions conduct cooperative scientific activities in Australia. The United States and Australia responded to the Ebola and Zika epidemics and support 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

The U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement has boosted U.S. exports to Australia over 100 percent since coming into force in 2005. In 2016, total U.S. goods and services trade with Australia totaled US $64 billion, and the United States ran a trade surplus of nearly US $17 billion. U.S. exports to Australia support over 300,000 U.S. jobs, in sectors including machinery, travel services, industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and financial services. In return, Australia exports foods, feeds, and beverages; industrial supplies and materials; and business and travel services.

Bilateral investment cumulatively totals more than US $1 trillion. About 30 percent, or US $440 billion, of Australian overseas investment is in the United States. The United States is Australia’s largest foreign investor, with US $650 billion in accumulated investment – almost 30 percent of Australia’s total stock – including more than US $167 billion in foreign direct investment. Leading sectors for U.S. investment are mining, finance, and insurance.

Australia has the world’s 12th-largest economy and the sixth-highest per capita income. It has marked 27 years of sustained annual economic growth, driven largely by China’s demand for minerals and other resources. An energy powerhouse, Australia is the world’s fourth-largest coal producer and second-largest LNG exporter. U.S. firms have operated in Australia for over 100 years and currently employ over 335,000 Australians, many in high-paying sectors. Almost 730,000 U.S. residents visited Australia in 2017, up nearly 27% over the last two years, and almost 1.5 million Australians visited the United States.

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 (APEC), G-20, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Australia is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), an Enhanced Partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and a member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Bilateral Representation

The position of U.S. Ambassador to Australia is currently vacant; 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
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
Export.gov International Offices Page
Travel Information