1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Int Relations


Australia’s foreign and trade policies are key tools for promoting the security and prosperity of Australians. The international environment, with its changing economic and strategic situations, presents both opportunities and challenges in advancing Australia’s national interests. Opportunities include expanded trade access, new forms of security co-operation and broader bilateral and multilateral engagement to advance shared goals. Terrorism and nuclear proliferation, as well as rising trade protectionism and climate change, are among the key challenges the nation must address to protect the security and economic prosperity of Australians at home and abroad.

Strong engagement with countries in Asia and the Pacific region as well as Australia’s key strategic ally, the United States of America, is central to the government’s international efforts to ensure Australia’s security. Australia has worked with key partners to strengthen the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in order to build co-operation to address regional political, security and economic challenges; develop a sense of community; and promote peaceful, rules-based norms. The government also engages with the international community through multilateral partners, including the United Nations, to combat transnational security challenges and enhance good governance, human rights and sustainable development.

Australia’s prosperity is in part dependent on international trade and investment. Promoting trade liberalisation is an important part of the government’s overall strategy for enhancing the nation’s economic wellbeing. This is done both multilaterally, through the World Trade Organization (WTO), and by securing high quality Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with key bilateral and regional partners. Against the backdrop of fragility in the global economy and the need for a co-ordinated international response, the government also works closely with key global and regional partners in the G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.