The Australian Government is pursuing an economic diplomacy agenda guided by four key pillars:
Pursue trade liberalisation through bilateral, regional and global trade agreements that open up new markets for Australian exporters and sustain a strong, rules-based architecture for global trade.
The Government has established an ambitious trade agenda, pushing for greater trade liberalisation—both multilaterally and through free trade agreements.
Support global growth, including by using Australia's aid program and other measures to promote economic reform and infrastructure, and through regional and global economic cooperation forums.
In the G20, Australia is leading efforts to increase GDP growth across the developed and developing world. Our aid activities will prioritise programs that support economic growth as a path to development.
Promote investment into Australia and Australian investment internationally.
Australia's prosperity has been built on two centuries of international investment. Attracting productive international investment will create new jobs and new industries to support our future prosperity. Our aid activities help developing countries attract international investment.
Advance the interests of Australian business overseas, the development of a stronger private sector in our region, and promote Australian tourism.
The Government is committed to supporting Australian businesses in Australia and overseas. Our aid activities promote sustainable growth in the private sector in developing countries. We promote Australian tourism in line with the Government's Tourism 2020 strategy.
"The Australian Government is committed to economic diplomacy —to opening up the Australian economy, to empowering private sector growth, to encouraging investment and creating conditions for business partnerships to flourish and trade to flow."
Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment
Speech to US-Australia Dialogue, 2014
"Just like traditional diplomacy promotes peace, economic diplomacy promotes prosperity."
Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Speech to Australasian Aid and International Development Policy workshop, 2014
Supporting Australia's prosperity
Trade and investment partnerships are, and always have been, central to Australia's prosperity.
We are a nation of traders. Since 1900, trade has never dipped below the equivalent of 25 per cent of Australia's GDP—even as our exports have shifted from gold and wool to iron ore, LNG and education.
In 2013 Australia's trade in goods and services reached a new high, with exports growing 6.1 per cent to $319 billion and two-way trade at $647 billion. Exports to China, Japan and South Korea accounted for more than 50 per cent of all Australian exports. Our top two-way trading partners were China, Japan and the United States, accounting for a combined 40 per cent of our trade. Australia's trade with ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, accounted for 14 per cent of our trade in 2013.
Trade promotes growth and raises incomes. Trade liberalisation has boosted Australia's GDP, and lifted average household income by up to $4,500 per annum.
20 per cent of Australian jobs directly support trade-related activities. Trade gives Australian producers access to a global marketplace with billions of potential customers. In the domestic marketplace, trade encourages competition—reducing prices and increasing variety for Australian consumers and business.
Foreign investment supports the growth of current Australian businesses—like the mining sector—and helps build the industries of the future. In the agriculture sector foreign investment will help Australian farms grow to meet regional demand for safe, high quality produce.
Tourism directly employs more than half a million Australians and is currently our largest services export industry—delivering $26 billion in income. Education is our largest services export. Australia has the fifth highest number of foreign students in tertiary education in the world.
Supporting global prosperity
Greater regional and global prosperity is strongly in Australia's interest. It reduces poverty, supports stability, and creates new markets for our exports.
In the G20, Australia is leading a global growth agenda aimed at boosting the prosperity of developed and developing countries.
Our aid program supports prosperity through better infrastructure, support for economic reform and financial inclusion, a focus on women's economic empowerment, and the broader enablers of economic development like education and skills development, and health.
Our trade liberalisation efforts—including negotiation of free trade agreements—boost two-way trade with our major trading partners.
Our exports of iron ore, coal and LNG provide the inputs that drive economic growth in China, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere. New investment in these sectors will further expand production.
More information on Economic Diplomacy.