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.
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 several key World War II battles, including the Battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal. In 2018, the two countries marked 100 Years of Mateship (Friendship), commemorating the Battle of Hamel in which U.S. and Australian forces first fought side-by-side.
Bilateral 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. Australia invoked it for the first time 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. This has included 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. Both countries share a strong interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, overflight, and other lawful uses of the sea, including in the South China Sea. They work closely in Afghanistan and cooperate on efforts to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) , as well as 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 and a trilateral infrastructure partnership 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. Many 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 measurable 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 (FTA) entered into force on January 1, 2005. The U.S.-Australia FTA has boosted U.S. goods exports to Australia by more than 80 percent since 2004 (pre-FTA); U.S. services exports are up by over 200 percent from 2004. In 2018, total U.S. goods and services trade with Australia totaled US $65.9 billion, and the United States ran a trade surplus of US $28.9 billion. According to U.S. Department of Commerce estimates, U.S. exports of goods and services to Australia support nearly 250,000 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. Australia has proven to be an appealing and profitable market for U.S. companies for many years. It offers very few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, and a sophisticated – yet straightforward business culture.
Bilateral direct investment (FDI) cumulatively totals nearly US $230 billion. In 2018, Australia total stock of FDI into the United States was $71.5 billion. Leading sectors for Australian investment into the United States are software & IT services, business services, and healthcare. According to Australian government statistics, the United States is Australia’s largest foreign investor. In 2018, the U.S. direct investment position in Australia (outward) was $163.0 billion. Considerable portfolio investment in both directions also contributes to a strong bilateral investment relationship. U.S. firms have operated in Australia for over 100 years and, according to Australian government estimates, currently employ more than 300,000 Australians, many in high-paying sectors. U.S. firms are also the largest tax-payers, wage payers, and contributor to GDP, of any foreign country companies operating in Australia.
According to IMF data, Australia is the world’s 14th-largest economy by GDP and has the tenth-highest per capita income. It has marked 28 years of sustained annual economic growth, avoiding the financial crisis of 2009 by exporting resource commodities to China. An energy powerhouse, Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter and LNG exporter. According to Australian government data, almost 812,000 U.S. residents visited Australia in 2018, a 3 percent increase from 2017. According to U.S. statistics, 1.4 million Australians visited the United States in 2018, an increase of 3 percent from 2017.
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.
Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia; 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). The Embassy building is currently under renovation; the Australian diplomatic mission is currently located at 1145 17th St NW, Washington DC, 20036-4707
More information about Australia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Australia Page
History of U.S. Relations With Australia
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page