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Australia’s economic and commercial diplomacy

The Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda uses the full suite of the Australian Government's diplomatic resources and our domestic networks to promote Australia’s economic security and prosperity, through advocacy for an open global economy, support for businesses seeking commercial opportunities overseas and strengthening our international trade and investment competitiveness.

Supporting economic recovery from COVID-19 is a priority for the Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda.

DFAT leads the implementation of the Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Agenda. The Agenda is focused on five key pillars of activity:

  1. promoting investment
  2. addressing non-tariff barriers
  3. supporting and facilitating business
  4. advocating for the global rules-based trade system, and
  5. increasing science, technology, and innovation links.

DFAT has over 100 overseas posts across the world and offices in Australian state and territory capital (STOs). DFAT's role includes:

  • working with portfolio partners and other key Australian Government agencies to promote and protect Australian trade and investment interests
  • supporting government and business to build the resilience of Australia’s supply chains
  • working in partnership with business and across government to keep Australia’s services sector internationally competitive
  • leading whole-of-government efforts in international trade and investment negotiations, including FTA negotiations
  • liaising with state, territory and local governments on their trade and investment objectives
  • working with business to share information on developments in overseas markets that present commercial opportunities and risks
  • managing the majority of Australia's $4 billion development assistance program focused on economic development across our region.

Staff at our state and territory offices and overseas posts build productive relationships and networks in their respective Australian and overseas jurisdictions with ministers, government officials, business people, media representatives, think tanks, universities, and community groups. These networks enable us to advise Australian governments and businesses on key political, economic, commercial, regulatory, and strategic developments.

Working together

DFAT works closely with portfolio partners and other key Australian Government agencies with economic and trade responsibilities, including:

  • Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) – Austrade contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by promoting Australia's international trade, investment and education interests, and providing advice to government on tourism policy – see upcoming events that Austrade organises and supports in Australia and around the world
  • Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) – DISR’s international network works to promote Australia’s capabilities in the industry, resources, innovation, science, and research sectors.
  • Office of Supply Chain Resilience (OSCR) – OSCR, which is located within DISR, monitors vulnerabilities in critical supply chains and coordinates responses to improve ongoing access to essential goods.
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) – DAFF supports Australian agriculture’s participation in global value chains and the development of agricultural trade policy.
  • Export Finance Australia (EFA) – EFA provides loans, bonds and guarantees to help Australian export businesses when their bank is unable to help.
  • Tourism Australia– promotes Australia as a compelling tourism destination for international leisure and business events visitors.

Other useful information:

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