I am pleased to welcome His Excellency Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, and his wife, Ms Elke Büdenbender, to Australia from 3 to 5 November. This is the first visit by a German President to Australia since 2001.
Germany is one of our closest friends in Europe and a significant trading partner. Two way trade in 2016 reached $20.2 billion. German companies are investing in projects across Australia including light rail infrastructure, insurance services and defence materiel.
People to people ties are strong and extend back to the earliest days of European settlement. Today more than 26,000 young Germans visit on working holidays each year. There are over 500 research agreements between Australian and German universities in areas as diverse as robotics and genetics.
I look forward to discussing with President Steinmeier how we can make the most of our strong ties and shared liberal democratic values at a time of global uncertainty. Germany is a key strategic partner for Australia, and President Steinmeier’s visit is an opportunity to share perspectives on changing global strategic dynamics.
President Steinmeier and I will open the Australia Germany Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Perth - an event focused on expanding trade and investment between Australia, Germany and the Asia Pacific region. The conference will be the largest bilateral business conference ever held between Germany and Australia and will forge important networks ahead of the start of free trade negotiations with the European Union.
President Steinmeier and Ms Büdenbender will travel to Perth and Sydney.