Australia sees itself as an Indo-Pacific regional power with global interests. Against this background, 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. Since then, cooperation in many fields has been further intensified with Australian partners in business, the academic world and civil society. This cooperation is founded on the shared values and support for the preservation and further development of the rules-based international order.
In terms of the volume of trade in goods and services between the two countries, 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 spheres of energy and raw materials are of particular interest because they combine Australia’s wealth of natural resources, research expertise on both sides and climate protection, which is ever more important.
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 past ten 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 the exploration and development of the “fifth continent”. It is estimated that up to 1.3 million Australians have German roots. There are branches of the Goethe-Institut in Sydney and Melbourne, and there are German schools in both cities. The German Academic Exchange service (DAAD) has an information centre in Sydney. There are some 90,000 learners of German at Australian schools (approximately one percent of all students).