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United Kingdom

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United Kingdom country brief

Bilateral relations

We are longstanding partners and are modernising our relationship to face a changing world.

Australia and the United Kingdom enjoy a high level of cooperation across a wide range of foreign policy, defence, security, intelligence, trade and economic issues.

We share common values, strong people-to-people links, closely aligned strategic interests, and substantial trade and investment links. The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement and the United Kingdom’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership are opening doors for Australian businesses and strengthening the United Kingdom’s economic engagement across the Indo-Pacific. AUKUS is deepening our defence ties to support an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Foreign policy

Australia and the United Kingdom share an interest in an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that is respectful of sovereignty. The United Kingdom’s ongoing commitment to regional prosperity and strategic balance is reflected in the United Kingdom’s Integrated Review Refresh (March 2023). We are working together to shape a world that is peaceful, predictable and guided by rules.

The Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) are the premier bilateral forum on foreign policy, defence and security issues. AUKMIN is an annual opportunity to shape and modernise the strategic framework for our relationship and elevate cooperation across today’s priorities like climate and clean energy, economic security, technology and countering disinformation. The United Kingdom hosted the 12th AUKMIN in Portsmouth in February 2023.

Our AUKUS partnership with the United Kingdom and the United States reflects our deep mutual trust and shared strategic interests. It will help us maintain our capability edge in the region and contribute to broader regional and global security.

Economic overview

The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) will deliver unprecedented benefits to Australian businesses and create new well-paying jobs. With the entry into force of this comprehensive agreement (31 May 2023), there will be no tariffs on over 99 per cent of Australian goods exports to the United Kingdom, opening up new export opportunities, including for the agriculture sector. This includes Australian exports of wine, short- and medium-grain rice, honey, nuts, and manufactured products such as auto parts, electrical equipment, and cosmetic products. A-UKFTA delivers enhanced pathways for young Australians and Britons to live and work in each country, including new arrangements under Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program and the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme.

Australia welcomed the United Kingdoms’ accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in July 2023. CPTPP membership will enhance the United Kingdom’s economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific and support our shared interest in promoting regional prosperity.

Australia and the United Kingdom cooperate extensively in a range of international economic forums, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the G20.

Australia and the United Kingdom are also cooperating to strengthen supply chains and economic resilience more broadly, including under the Australia-UK Joint Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.

Trade and investment

The United Kingdom is Australia’s second-largest source of total stock of foreign investment, worth $1 trillion in 2022, and our second-largest destination for total stock of investment abroad – valued at $835 billion.

The United Kingdom is our 13th largest two-way trading partner – with $22 billion in goods and services trade in 2021-22 – as well as our 14th largest export destination and our 9th largest source of imports.

Australia’s principal goods and services exports to the United Kingdom are lead, alcoholic beverages (mainly wine), measuring and analysing instruments, recreational travel and gold. Our principal imports from the United Kingdom are professional and technical services, intellectual property charges, and insurance and pension services.

Austrade’s office in the United Kingdom works to attract foreign direct investment into Australia and promote the Australian education sector. Austrade can provide access to a range of specialists to assist with market entry and expansion.

Public diplomacy

The Australian High Commission in London manages an active public diplomacy program designed to raise awareness of contemporary Australia in the United Kingdom and advance our key policy priorities, including to leverage economic opportunities under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, drive cooperation on climate change, and embed First Nations perspectives into our foreign policy.

To deliver these objectives, the High Commission continues to build on our strong people-to-people links and collaborates with a range of across business, government and higher education to promote Australia as a modern, diverse and innovative society.

Fast facts

UK visitors to Australia (2022)
399,210
Australian visitors to the UK (2022)
416,260
Resident Australian population born in UK (2021 census)
967,390
Australian residents of UK ancestry (2021 census)
8.38 million
UK working holidaymakers (2017/18)
37 752
UK students in Australia (2021)
4,604

High-level visits

To the United Kingdom

  • November 2023: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP, Minister for Industry and Science the Hon Ed Husic MP for the AI Safety Summit
  • September 2023: Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia the Hon Madeleine King MP
  • May 2023: Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP and Governor-General HE the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) for the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
  • February 2023: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Marles and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong for the 12th AUKMIN
  • February 2023: Minister for Defence Industry and International Development the Hon Pat Conroy MP

To Australia

  • December 2023: Minister of State (Indo-Pacific) the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
  • October 2023: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Exports) Lord Offord of Garvel
  • September 2023: Minister of State (Indo-Pacific) Trevelyan
  • August 2023: Then-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport the Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Gambling and Civil Society the Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
  • July 2023: Secretary of State for Business and Trade the Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP
  • January 2023: Speaker of the UK House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle

Agreements with the United Kingdom

  • Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (entry into force 31 May 2023)
  • Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty
  • International Tax Agreement
  • Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
  • Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
  • UK-Australia FinTech Bridge
  • UK-Australia Clean Technology Partnership
  • Australia-UK Nuclear Cooperation
  • Agreement on Trade in Wine
  • Mutual Recognition Agreements

Contacts

Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom
Australia House
The Strand
London WC 2B 4LA
United Kingdom
Tel: (+44) 20 7379 4334
Website: https://uk.embassy.gov.au/

British High Commission in Australia
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: (+612) 6270 6666
Website: www.gov.uk/world/australia

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