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Germany

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Germany country brief

Key engagement

Australia and Germany established diplomatic relations in 1952. Bilateral cooperation was strengthened with the signing of the Berlin-Canberra Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Partnership in 2013. The work of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group, whose recommendations were implemented in 2016, further bolstered ties.

Outlook

The launch of Germany’s Indo-Pacific Policy Guidelines in September 2020 provides another important springboard for future cooperation.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Germany have a warm, vibrant and diverse bilateral relationship. Germany is a close and important partner for Australia with a common strategic outlook, and shared values and commitment to the rules-based international order, including in the Indo-Pacific. We work together to support multilateralism, human rights, trade liberalisation, shared defence and security objectives, and the international response to COVID-19. We work closely in multilateral forums, including the UN and G20.

Foreign policy

Germany contributes actively to international peace and prosperity. As the EU's largest economy, Germany exerts significant influence over the group's common foreign and economic policies. Germany is a strong supporter of multilateralism. It is the third-largest contributor to the United Nations' budget and largest contributor to the EU budget. It has led responses to common challenges such as energy security, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and counterterrorism. The NATO alliance is the anchor of German defence and security policy.

Fast Facts

  • German visitors to Australia (Year ended June 2020) – 161,700
  • Australian resident returns from Germany (Year ended June 2020) – 89,700
  • Resident Australian population born in Germany (2016 census) – 102,594
  • Australian residents of German descent (2016 census) – 982,221
  • German working holidaymakers (Year ended June 2020) – 13,934
  • German student enrolments in Australia (2019) – 5,261

High level engagement

  • 2020 – Defence Minister Reynolds attended the Munich Security Conference.
  • 2019 – Then-Finance Minister Cormann and Treasurer Frydenberg visited Berlin.
  • 2018 – Then-Prime Minister Turnbull, then‑Defence Minister Payne and then-Finance Minister Cormann visited Berlin.

Agreements with Germany

Australia has numerous bilateral agreements with Germany, including on social security, double taxation, trade and cultural cooperation.

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Public diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Berlin promotes Australia’s export industries, research expertise and innovation, culture, and Indigenous history with in-person events and digital diplomacy.

Activities promote collaboration between Australian and German stakeholders in science and innovation, and foster growth of the Australia-Germany Research Network. Australia and Germany share strong ties in innovation and research. More than 500 partnerships and cooperation agreements exist between Australian and German universities. Germany is a key partner for Australia's peak scientific body, the CSIRO.

A significant number of Australian artists are based in Germany, working in music, performing and visual arts, literature, and arts management. The cultural diversity of both countries supports a long history of exchange in culture, arts and sport. The Australian Embassy in Berlin promotes numerous festivals and events in Germany that showcase Australian art and culture.

Germany is a large source of student enrolments in Australia. Postgraduate studies provide Australian institutions with the greatest opportunities to enter the German market, particularly in the areas of Information Technology, International Law, and International Business and Technology. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Universities Australia signed the Australia‑Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme in December 2014 to support bilateral research exchanges.

Australian Embassy in Berlin

Facebook: @AusEmb.DE
Twitter: @AusAmb_DE

Economic diplomacy

Australia's economic relationship with Germany is substantial. Germany is Australia's 11th largest trade partner, with two-way merchandise trade totalling $17.7 billion in 2019. Germany is Australia's 4th largest source of imports, comprising mostly goods ($15 billion). Major goods imports from Germany are cars, medicaments, goods vehicles and pharmaceutical products.

Australian investment in Germany in 2019 totalled $97.1 billion, while Germany's total investment in Australia in 2019 was valued at $49.1 billion. German investment spans automotive and manufacturing, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals and finance.

Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including Germany. This work has intensified followed the launch of Australia-EU FTA negotiations in June 2018.

Business

There are over 390 German companies employing more than 56,000 people in Australia. Some of the major German companies in Australia are Siemens, Bosch, Fuchs, Carl Zeiss (Advanced manufacturing); SAP Research, Software AG (ICT);  Evonik, Fresenius Medical Care (Pharmaceuticals); DB Schenker, DHL, Deutsche Bahn, (Logistics, transport and mobility); Allianz, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, (Banking/insurance); BayWa, Enercon, Innogy, RWE, Senvion (Clean energy); Heidelberg Cement/Hanson Australia, BOC/Linde (Materials); Remondis (Waste Management & Water); BASF, Bayer, CSB Engineering, Dr Oetker, Kaufland, Nordzucker (Food and agriculture); and Luerssen, Rheinmetall, ThyssenKrupp (Defence).

Over 150 Australian companies employing around 17,000 people have a presence in Germany, including Macquarie (Infrastructure); IFM, ANZ (Finance); Transfield (Energy); Adina Apartments (Tourism); CSL Behring, Cochlear, Resmed, SDI, Sonic Healthcare, Grey Innovation (Medical devices); Nufarm (Food and agriculture); Goodman (Logistics); Cohda Wireless, Computershare, Telstra (Digital technologies); Flame Productions, Greencorp Magnetics (Media); and Amcor (Packaging).

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) operates an office in Frankfurt. Further information on Austrade’s services can be found at: Austrade's office in Germany.

Travel

See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Germany.

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