Foreword from Menna Rawlings CMG, British High Commissioner to Australia
I am delighted to contribute to this guide and share insights into the special relationship that provides such a solid foundation for UK companies doing business in Australia.
The strong relationship between the UK and Australia is rooted in our history. The UK is part of Australia’s DNA. Many of Australia’s strong foundations – democracy, the rule of law, sport, culture – reflect our shared heritage. We share a common language, sense of humour and love of sport.
More recently, with more diverse populations and shifting demography, our relationship has evolved into a modern, innovative partnership with increasingly strong connections and partnerships across business, trade, investment and innovation.
We are major trading partners and investors in each other’s economic success. Australia is the UK’s 14th biggest export market with £8.3bn of goods and services sold in 2015. The UK is the 2nd largest investor in Australia with over £300bn of investment. The UK is Australia’s 2nd biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) destination and Australia is the 6th largest source country for foreign direct investment projects into the UK economy. More British expats live in Australia than in any other country in the world – a total of 1.2 million people. There are more than 1 million visits by Australians to the UK each year; and almost 700,000 British tourists make the journey Down Under.
And it’s not just about trade and investment, but also about knowledge capital and exchange. There are 450 agreements between UK and Australian higher education institutions. And in 2014 there were 318 joint publications between Australia’s CSIRO and UK researchers. MOUs in sectors such as cyber security and fintech regulation also facilitate greater co-operation and trade between our two countries.
Britain leaving the European Union means we will want to lean into our relationship with Australia even more than before. This year we are forging ahead with a number of initiatives to support enhanced trade and investment flows between our two countries. We are sharing expertise on digital government, smart cities, new technology and science. And we are holding a UK Year of Innovation, to match the Australian government’s own ambitions in this area.
We have also set more ambitious targets on UK exports to Australia. This means continued support for an EU-Australia FTA while we scope out the possibilities for a future UK-Australia FTA, and a renewed focus on increasing UK exports in key sectors, including defence, transport, infrastructure, financial services, consumer and retail, the digital economy and food and drink. Our ministers have just launched a new bilateral trade working group to scope out the parameters for a bilateral FTA.
The UK’s Department for International Trade team based in Australia are here to help UK companies looking to exploit these and other opportunities. For more information go to www.gov.uk/world/australia.
I am sure you will find this guide a helpful introduction to doing business in Australia and we look forward to supporting your business expansion.
Menna Rawlings CMG
British High Commissioner to Australia
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