The Pacific Alliance
The Pacific Alliance was initiated in 2011 and formalised by a framework agreement in 2012. Its members – Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia – have outward-oriented trade liberalising policies. The Alliance aims to achieve the free movement of goods, services, capital and people among members. Australia became an observer in November 2012 and attended the May 2013 Summit held in Cali, Colombia, the June 2014 Summit in Punta Mita, Mexico, the June 2015 Summit in Paracas, Peru and the June 2016 Summit in Puerto Varas, Chile, and the June 2017 Summit held in Cali, Colombia.
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The 52 observers are Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
In June 2017, Australia launched free trade agreement negotiations with the Pacific Alliance, one of the first countries to do so. Australia also works with the Pacific Alliance in the areas of environment, engaging with the Asia-Pacific and in education and training. Australia attended the inaugural Pacific Alliance Education Forum in Lima, Peru, in May 2016 and supported a Pacific Alliance cooperation project – "TVET in Benchmarking for Transport and Logistics Sector". In July 2017, Australia also attended the inaugural Pacific Alliance Fisheries Network meeting in Lima.
Mercosur is a trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (currently suspended). Bolivia is going through the ratification process to become a full member. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname are Associate Members. Mexico is an observer. Mercosur was founded in 1991. Australia and New Zealand have a formal consultation mechanism – CER-Mercosur. The last CER-Mercosur consultations took place in May 2017. Since November 2014, Mercosur has been working on options for convergence with the Pacific Alliance.
The Central American Integration System
The Central American Integration System (SICA) was formally established in 1991. Australia became in observer in 2011. Since joining, Australia has attended summits annually since 2011.
Forum for East Asia and Latin American Cooperation
Forum for East Asia and Latin American Cooperation (FEALAC) is the only formal dialogue between countries in Latin America and East Asia. It draws together 36 countries from East Asia and Latin America aiming to strengthen the relationship between the two regions. It involves in-principle biennial Foreign Ministers’ meetings as well as annual Senior Officials and Working Group meetings. Four Working Groups on Socio-Political Cooperation and Sustainable Development; Culture, Youth, Gender and Sports; Science, Technology, Innovation and Education; and Trade, Investment, Tourism and MSMEs operate to build collaboration across these thematic areas.
Australia is a founding member of FEALAC, the first time Australia was accepted as a member in the Asia region. Australia has participated in FEALAC Foreign Ministers' and Senior Officials Meetings since FEALAC's inception in 1998.
The Organization of American States
The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948. It has a permanent secretariat in Washington and includes all 35 independent states of the Americas. Cuba has been excluded since 1962 and Venezuela has applied to leave.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was a Mexican initiative announced in 2012. CELAC’s membership is the same as the OAS except that it excludes Canada and the United States and includes Cuba. It has no permanent secretariat and is becoming a vehicle for engagement outside the region. The first CELAC-EU Summit was held in Santiago in January 2013 and the first CELAC-China Forum was held in Beijing in January 2015. Australia met the CELAC Troika in December 2012.
Within the United Nations these countries form the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC).
The Union of South American Nations
The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Consultative Treaty was signed in 2008, with entry into force in 2011. It includes all 12 independent South American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela). Unasur's Secretariat is located in Quito, Ecuador. The Union is focused on physical regional integration, including on energy, education, health, environment, infrastructure, security and democracy. Unasur has also sought to encourage dialogue between the government and opposition in Venezuela, with Unasur Secretary General Ernest Sampo leading a delegation, including the foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, to Caracas in March 2015.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) was founded in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela. They were joined by Antigua and Barbuda (2009), Bolivia (2006), Dominica (2008), Ecuador (2009), Grenada (2014), Nicaragua (2007), St Kitts and Nevis (2014), St Lucia (2013) and St Vincent and Grenadines (2007).
Latin America's trade and economic links with Australia
Australian Companies Operating in Latin America - 2017
From two dozen in 1999, there are now over 390 Australian companies in Latin America, including 35 ASX200 companies. Most began in Chile, before expanding to Brazil and Peru.
Australian Companies Operating in Latin America - 2017 (select countries)
Trade with Latin America
In 2016, Australia's total trade with Latin America was $10.3 billion, around 1.5% of Australia's global trade.
Australia's two-way trade in goods & services with Latin America (select countries) $A million
|Total two-way trade
Latin American student enrolment in Australia
In 2016, there were over 58,000 student enrolments from Latin America. With the majority of students from Brazil (50.7 %) and Colombia (29.5%).
2013-2016 Student enrolment data (select countries)
Latin American Students in Australia by Sector
The majority of Latin American student enrolments are in English language and vocational education and training (VET) courses. Colombia and Brazil have the highest number of students enrolled in higher education courses, while Brazil and Mexico have the highest number of non-award enrolments (such as exchange or foundation programs).
Latin American student enrolments by Sector data (selected countries) 2016
Latin American Students in Australia by State and Territory
The top three Australian states that had the most Latin American students enrolled in 2016 were New South Wales (40.9%), Queensland (26.9%) and Victoria (21.2%).
Latin American Student Enrolment Data State and Territories 2016
||Number of Students
Australia-Latin America two-way travel
||Arrivals to Australia 2016/17
||Australians visiting in 2016*
Note: These numbers do not include Australian dual nationals and are not official Australian government statistics but have been provided by Latin American immigration authorities and, in some cases, rounded to the nearest thousand.
(1) From June 2015 - May 2016
(2) This figure is an estimate as no official figures are available.