Joint Statement – Inaugural Australia-U.S. Strategic Commercial Dialogue (AUSSCD)
Gina Raimondo, United States Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Dan Tehan met on March 30 in Washington D.C. for the inaugural Australia-U.S. Strategic Commercial Dialogue (AUSSCD).
Australia and the United States have a deep and long-standing trade and investment relationship, underpinned by the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Australia is the ninth largest source of foreign investment into the United States according to U.S. government data, supporting $193 million in innovative research and development. The United States is the top investor in Australia, and two-way goods and services trade averaged approximately $64 billion annually from 2017 to 2021. This longstanding economic relationship translates into high paying jobs. Based on Australian Government data, Australian firms directly employ over 150,000 people in the United States while United States’ firms in Australia employ approximately 300,000 Australians. Further, the United States’ exports of goods and services to Australia support over 170,000 U.S. jobs. Our extensive economic ties reflect our enduring bonds – as advanced market economies, thriving democracies, and nations committed to a free, fair, open, interconnected, resilient, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that has the potential to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Australia and the United States are working together on the key challenges that will support prosperity and peace for our peoples, responding to economic coercion, building more secure supply chains, and facilitating a clean transition that supports Paris Agreement targets. Together, we are working to meet the strategic challenges of the 21st century economy, and to build a sustainable economic future that delivers more for our people, our workers, and our businesses. To this end, the Secretary and Minister committed to building on the strategic cooperation of both countries in the following areas:
Measures taken to support Ukraine
Australia and the United States have worked together, in coordination with other allies and partners, to implement economic measures that are designed to impose significant economic costs for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including by depriving the Russian regime of access to critical technologies and materials, capital, and the ability to conduct business around the world. The United States and Australia have worked together to take tough action through some of the most advanced export control measures, including Australia’s ban on exports of alumina to Russia. In their meeting, the Secretary and Minister discussed how to build on strong cooperation on export controls, import and export bans, and other specific targeted measures and economic policy tools to ensure that Russia faces appropriate economic consequences in response to the atrocities in Ukraine. Australia and the United States will continue to coordinate closely on shared responses to Russia to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
Australia and the United States are focused on working with regional partners to develop an economic framework for the Indo-Pacific that encourages openness, enhances prosperity, and builds resilience. The Secretary and Minister noted the importance of developing an inclusive framework underpinned by commercially meaningful measures and shared economic growth. Australia and the United States will work together with other partners to ensure IPEF delivers tangible benefits to the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in shared priority areas, such as the digital economy and climate change.
Supporting Sustainable Investing and the Energy Transition
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing is necessary for seeking positive returns and avoiding adverse long-term impacts on society. The Secretary and the Minister agreed that ESG investing is important for seeking long-term financial returns and a better alignment between investing and social values. Investment decisions can focus on a company’s impact on the environment, its treatment of its workers or involvement in its community, or its board makeup and organizational transparency. In particular, the private sector will have a key role in the transition to renewable energy, and low emissions technology in traditionally carbon-intensive sectors such as mining and manufacturing. The Secretary and Minister agreed to explore ways to support decarbonisation efforts in key industrial sectors, including to ensure viable domestic industries in both the United States and Australia.
Critical minerals and supply chain resilience
The coming energy transition will depend in large part on securing a resilient and diversified supply of critical minerals – for use in everything from electric vehicle chargers and batteries to solar panels, wind turbines, and semiconductors. The Secretary and Minister discussed cooperation on critical minerals, and the strengthening of resilient and secure supply chains across the United States, Australia, and the Indo-Pacific. They highlighted the importance of developing shared approaches to ESG and traceability standards, as well as working with other like-minded partners to build resilient supply chains. They noted the executive-level roundtable on critical minerals held on March 30 highlighted the commercial potential for both Australian and U.S. industries and underscored the need to strengthen capabilities across all segments of the supply chain, including extraction and downstream processing. Australia and the United States will look at how their respective financing mechanisms could be better coordinated and leveraged to support private investment in supply chains.
Economic coercion and non-market policies and practices
The Secretary and Minister agreed that economic coercion and non-market policies and practices threaten the livelihoods of our citizens, harm our workers and businesses, are incompatible with the rules-based multilateral trading system, and undermine security and prosperity in Australia, the United States, and the broader Indo-Pacific region. They exchanged views on countering economic coercion and non-market policies and practices, including working with the private sector to identify such behaviours and explore appropriate policy responses.
Minister Tehan thanked Secretary Raimondo for hosting the inaugural AUSSCD and looked forward to convening the second dialogue in 2023.