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United Kingdom

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United Kingdom country brief

The United Kingdom is one of our most like-minded partners in the world.

Key engagement

Our countries enjoy a high level of cooperation across a wide range of foreign policy, defence, security, intelligence, trade and economic issues.


Brexit can be an opportunity for strengthened cooperation including through negotiating an Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. The UK and European Commission have agreed the terms of the UK's exit and are currently negotiating the future EU-UK relationship.

Bilateral relations

Australia and the UK have a significant and comprehensive relationship underpinned by our shared heritage, common values, strong people-to-people links, closely aligned strategic outlook and interests and substantial trade and investment links. We are frequent dialogue partners at the highest levels across government and are like‑minded on global issues such as international security, multilateral cooperation and economic issues on the G20 agenda.

Foreign policy

Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) is the premier bilateral forum on foreign policy, defence and security issues.

At AUKMIN, ministers look for ways in which Australia and the UK can work together more effectively to deal with contemporary global challenges.

The UK hosted the tenth AUKMIN in Edinburgh in July 2018. Ministers reaffirmed their mutual commitment to uphold the international rules-based order.

Australia's foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast facts

UK visitors to Australia (June 2019)
Australian visitors to UK (June 2019.)
667 800
Resident Australian population born in UK (2016 census)
Australian residents of UK ancestry (2016 census)
7.85 million
UK working holidaymakers (2017/18)
37 752
UK students in Australia (2018)

High level visits in 2018


Then Prime Minister Morrison (June); then Foreign Minister Payne (February and July); then Trade Minister Birmingham (January); and then Defence Minister Reynolds (July)

From UK

Trade Secretary Truss (September 2019)

Agreements with UK

  • Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty
  • International Tax Agreement
  • Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
  • Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
  • UK-Australia FinTech Bridge
  • Australia-UK Nuclear Cooperation
  • Wine
  • Mutual Recognition Agreements

Public diplomacy

The Australian High Commission in London manages a public diplomacy program focused on raising awareness in the UK of contemporary Australia, including through promotion of our shared heritage, strong people-to-people links, music, film and literature, our premium produce, and through Australian alumni in the UK.

The High Commission collaborates with private and public sector partners to deliver events that promote Australia as a successful multicultural nation, and dynamic Indo-Pacific economy.

Australian High Commission in the UK
Australia House
The Strand
London WC 2B 4LA
United Kingdom
Tel: (+44) 20 7379 4334

British High Commission in Australia
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: (+612) 6270 6666

Economic diplomacy

Brexit has presented Australia with a unique opportunity to strengthen its relationship with the UK. An Australia-UK Trade Working Group has been working since 2016 to scope out the parameters of a Free Trade Agreement for negotiation post-Brexit.

The UK is now looking to its future outside of the EU. The UK Government's vision of a "Global Britain" campaign includes looking to old friends and working to increase trade and investment.

Australia is seen by the UK as a key trading partner post-Brexit and the High Commission is capitalising on this.


The UK is the third-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Australia, worth $128 billion in 2021, and the second-largest source of foreign investment in terms of total stock, worth $719 billion in 2021. The UK is also the second-largest destination for Australian foreign investment, with total stock of $538 billion and FDI of $135 billion in 2021. The UK is our 12th largest two-way trading partner, worth $21.7 billion in 2021, and our third largest two-way services trading partner, valued at $9.8 billion in 2021.

Australia's principal merchandise exports to the UK are lead, alcohol and, measuring and analysing instruments. The main merchandise imports from the UK are passenger vehicles, medicaments and alcohol.

Austrade's UK Office aims to attract foreign direct investment into Australia. Austrade can provide access to a range of specialists to assist with market entry and expansion.

Austrade in the UK

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