Doing business with Australia
The Australian Government's ambitious trade policy is geared towards increasing economic activity, creating jobs and getting a fair deal for Australia in the international marketplace.
The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for negotiating with foreign governments to ensure better trade conditions for Australian products. The Australian Government pursues this goal at every level:
- Multilaterally through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by negotiating trade agreements which provide the legal ground-rules for international trade;
- Regionally through Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other international forums by strengthening regional trade links and pursuing common trade and economic goals;
- Bilaterally through the negotiation of free trade agreements, such as with Singapore, Thailand and the United States that deliver substantial gains to Australia and which cannot be achieved in a similar timeframe elsewhere.
Australia also works to expand markets and address market barriers in a range of countries and sectors, including Japan and China.
Australia’s trade relations with Belgium and Luxembourg
Belgium is an important destination for Australian coal, copper, steel and metal ores. Other major export items from Australia to Belgium include alcoholic beverages, pearls and gems, wool and confidential items (e.g. diamonds).
Despite being one of the smaller European countries, Belgium has a comparatively strong medical device market with a relatively straightforward reimbursement system. Belgium has a state-of-the-art telecommunications system and transport infrastructure, a highly productive, multilingual workforce and a government eager to attract foreign investment. Its strategic position in the centre of Europe and its transport links make it ideal for distribution activities.
The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s trade, investment and education promotion agency. It has identified potential opportunities for Australian suppliers of goods and services in a number of sectors in Belgium and Luxembourg. Austrade's Belgium and Luxembourg country pages supply general information on doing business and on specific export opportunities. Its website also has a database that can be searched by industry and country.
Please note that the Australian Embassy in Brussels does not have an Austrade section.
The Austrade office in Paris can provide advice on accessing opportunities in Belgium and Luxembourg. The office can be contacted at:
4 rue Jean Rey
Tel: +33 1 56 77 12 42
Fax: +33 1 40 59 33 22
or send an e-mail
Operating hours: 10h00 - 17h00
Australia’s trade relations with the EU
The EU is Australia's second largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment. In 2015 two-way merchandise trade was valued at $59.5 billion and two-way services trade was worth $29.9 billion. In 2015 Australia exported $23.5 billion worth of goods and services to the EU. Australia's major merchandise exports to the EU include, coal, oil seeds, alcoholic beverages (primarily wine), ores and concentrates, lead and gold. The major merchandise imports from the EU include passenger motor vehicles, medicaments (incl. veterinary), and pharmaceutical products.
Australia’s major services export to the EU in 2015 was personal travel services (mainly recreational travel) - worth $5.3 billion. Personal travel services were also the largest single services import from the EU during the same period with a value of $7.5 billion.
The Australian Prime Minister together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission agreed in a joint statement on 15 November 2015 to start the process towards a comprehensive and high-quality Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
In 2015, the EU’s foreign direct investment in Australia totalled $157.6 billion – 21.4 per cent of Australia's total inwards foreign direct investment. The EU accounted for $111.8 billion of outwards Australian direct investment as at 2015.
Australia is well placed to be a reliable and efficient supplier of goods and services to Europe. For information on export opportunities, see the Austrade country profiles for the various member states.
Australia’s Export Opportunities to the EU
Though the EU is already one of Australia's largest trade and investment partners there are opportunities to expand the trade and investment relationship, particularly in continental Europe. With its abundant natural resources, Australia is well placed to be a reliable and efficient supplier of energy to Europe for many years to come. Europe is now a major market for Australian wine and for medicines. The EU services market, particularly in the education and tourism sectors, is a major market for Australian service providers. Product niches are being found in the food and beverage industries. For assistance with market access and trading with the EU, see the Austrade country profiles for the various member states.
Exporting to Australia
Belgian or Luxembourg companies wishing to sell products and services to Australia or to obtain details on import regulations into Australia should contact the Belgium Trade Commission at www.abh-ace.be/fr/ (French), http://www.abh-ace.be/nl/ (Dutch) orLuxembourg Trade and Investment Office respectively.
More Business and Trade Links:
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
Australian Government Online Services Portal
business.gov.au - Australian Government's principal business resource
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
BICON: Import conditions search
ABIE Australian Business in Europe (Belgium)
Australia's Trade at a Glance is an informative and easy-to-follow summary of Australia's trade performance.
Trade and Economic fact sheets for countries and regions