Germany and Australia: Bilateral relations
Australia sees itself as an Indo-Pacific regional power with global interests. Germany and the EU play a key role in the country’s international relations: Australia and Germany have been linked by a strategic partnership since 2013, which was further expanded in 2021. Cooperation in the economic and research spheres, as well as on security issues and between the armed forces is growing steadily on this basis. It is founded on shared values and support for the preservation and further development of the rules-based international order.
Germany is Australia’s second most important trading partner in Europe (after the UK). Germany’s main exports to Australia are motor vehicles, medicines and pharmaceutical products as well as machinery. Australia’s principle exports to Germany are gold and other precious metals, coins and agricultural products. In the cooperation between Germany and Australia, the energy sphere, including hydrogen and raw materials, is of particular interest because it combines Australia’s wealth of natural resources, the research expertise on both sides and climate protection, which is ever more important. This is also reflected in the Germany Australia Energy and Resources Working Group founded in 2017.
Australia is currently negotiating a free-trade agreement with the EU, the conclusion of which will further boost economic exchange.
The cooperation between the two countries in higher education is intensive: the number of partnerships between German and Australian higher education institutions has risen to over 600 within the last few years, making Germany the fourth largest cooperation partner of Australian universities worldwide, after China, the United States and Japan.
Australia and Germany have a long tradition of close cultural ties. Germans were among the first European settlers in Australia and played a major part in describing, exploring and developing the “fifth continent”. It is estimated that up to one million Australians have German roots. The Goethe-Institut as well as German schools are to be found in Sydney and Melbourne. The German Academic Exchange service (DAAD) has an information centre in Sydney. There are some 100,000 learners of German at Australian schools (i.e. about one percent of all students).