Australia and New Zealand

Australia has proven to be an appealing and profitable market for American companies for many years. Australia is an open market with minimal restrictions on imports of goods and services. It offers very few barriers to entry, a familiar legal and corporate framework, and a sophisticated yet straightforward business culture. While it is important to understand and appreciate Australia’s cultural differences, the long and successful history of American firms in Australia suggests that other U.S. companies will also find this market to be rewarding and attractive. Although modest in size, New Zealand shares similar economic and cultural characteristics to those of the U.S. Going from one of the most regulated economies in the OECD 25 years ago to one of the least regulated today, New Zealand has become one of the most resilient OECD economies, providing a growing and stable platform for both new and experienced Wisconsin exporters.



Australia is well integrated into world markets despite its geographical position. It is strategically positioned close to Asian markets that are driving fast-growing global food demand, challenging local industry to search for innovation across all aspects of production and the supply chain. Australia’s strong mining and agricultural sectors require industrial machinery, an area of expertise in Wisconsin. In recent decades, Australian manufacturing of high-tech goods, electronics, industrial tools, equipment, and machinery have declined to levels where it is a necessity to seek out international suppliers to meet local market demand. High labor and energy costs and geographical challenges encourage Australian companies to look abroad for new products and solutions in areas such as robotics, automation, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance.

As the world’s 13th-largest economy, Australia’s competitive, open, vibrant, and flexible economy experienced 29 years of consecutive growth through 2020. After contracting by 2.4% in 2020, Australia has embarked on a strong economic recovery, with the IMF predicting GDP growth of 4.5% in 2021. Australia’s resources are in high demand, particularly from fast-growing Asian economies, in turn creating great demand for mining and other related industrial equipment and technology services. Major capital-type goods like heavy earth moving equipment are typically imported and/or locally assembled by subsidiaries of foreign companies. 99% of tariffs have been eliminated on U.S.-manufactured goods entering Australia since the introduction of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement in 2005. International business has continued to take place throughout the pandemic, and new distribution agreements are being signed even in a virtual environment. The forced digital transformation has also accelerated the use of cloud-based solutions across key industries such as health and education.

Australia is the seventh-largest export market globally for Wisconsin and the third-largest in the Asia-Pacific. Rich in natural resources, Australia has strong mining and agricultural sectors, which require industrial machinery. Australia is in a period of increased infrastructure spending (especially railways, airports, roads, and waste management facilities), which is creating demand for capital equipment. Australia already imports around 70% of mining equipment and imports about 95% of its agricultural equipment and machinery (including tractors). Major capital-type goods, including heavy earth moving equipment, are also typically imported and/or locally assembled by subsidiaries of foreign companies. Australia is strategically positioned close to Asian markets that are driving fast-growing global food demand, and the industry requires innovation across all processes in the production and the supply chain, presenting opportunities for Wisconsin agricultural and food production exporters of ingredients and food processing equipment and technology. Additionally, the Australian market for medical equipment and supplies provides good opportunities. The majority of medical technology products used in Australia are imported, with the U.S. being the leading import source. Wisconsin is already a leader in medical equipment exports, making this a lucrative opportunity for business growth.

Market Statistics

Population: 26 million (4x the size of Wisconsin)
Area: 7.7 million km2 (46x the size of Wisconsin)
GDP: $1.4 trillion
2022 Wisconsin exports: $764 million
Wisconsin export rank: 6
2021 Wisconsin imports: $106 million
Key Industries: Aerospace, cybersecurity, defense, medical devices, education and training, agriculture, automotive parts, building and construction, franchising, water and wastewater treatment, mining

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