Vision Statement on the Australia-France Relationship
- Australia and France stand together today as staunch partners embracing the future. Our close-knit bond, forged on the battlefields of World War One, is stronger than ever as we embrace new opportunities and tackle global challenges. Our two countries have much in common. We are vibrant and open democracies, resolutely committed to maintaining the multilateral rules-based order and promoting human rights and free, transparent and rules-based trade.
- The Leaders affirmed our shared economic values and commitment to work together to resist protectionism, uphold the rules of the global trading system and contribute to the expansion of world trade that supports sustainable development. They agreed to strengthen their cooperation to address the current challenges facing the World Trade Organization, and its Dispute Settlement Body and promote reform with other trade partners and to enhance and better enforce the rules of the global trading system in order to eliminate trade distorting practices and foster a level playing field. Our bilateral trade and investment relationship is strong and growing, with two-way trade in goods and services worth $9 billion and French investment in Australia worth more than $28 billion.
- Leaders agreed to work toward the swift launch of the negotiation of an Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement that would embody our commitment to open markets and a rules-based trading system with the World Trade Organization at its centre, while significantly strengthening our trade and investment ties for the benefits of both parties. This free trade agreement shall promote high environmental, social and health standards in recognition of our shared multilateral commitments, including the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implement the multilateral environmental agreements to which they are parties.
- In 2016, we announced our partnership in developing Australia's Future Submarine Program over the next 50 years. From this, we envisage long-term strategic industrial cooperation, not only in the defence industry but across a range of economic sectors.
- In recognition of our strong and growing trade and investment links, leaders agreed to establish an annual Australia-France ministerial dialogue on trade and investment to broaden and deepen economic linkages and cooperation, including with respect to the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement and the Future Submarine Program.
- Australia and France share a strong commitment to addressing multinational tax avoidance, in particular through the widespread and timely implementation of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations, and supporting ongoing work to ensure that the international tax system is appropriate to address the tax challenges presented by the digital economy.
- Both our countries are committed to the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment in our national policies and international efforts. Australia and France will seek to identify opportunities to cooperate on advancing gender equality through our foreign policy and aid programs.
- Australia and France share a strong commitment to addressing common threats to a peaceful, prosperous and rules-based global order, such as terrorism, violent extremism, cyber attacks, foreign interference, climate change, environmental degradation, trade protectionism and the erosion of the rule of law. Today we elevate our relationship to a new level by deepening and broadening cooperation.
- Leaders agreed to launch the Australia-France initiative (AFiniti) to support the vision of the bilateral relationship and establish a lasting and prosperous relationship across all fields of human endeavour. This follows the signature of our Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership in March 2017.
- Leaders instructed their foreign ministers to lead this endeavour in cooperation with other ministers to identify and implement initiatives that are innovative and cutting-edge. Defence industry, science, technology, start-up ecosystems, space, trade and investment, environment, and cooperative maritime activities are some of the areas where our two countries will work together in partnership. The foreign ministers will oversee a report to leaders by the end of 2018.
- Reaffirming their mutual commitment to deepening bilateral defence cooperation, the two leaders note with satisfaction the strong and abiding engagement between our two nations in ensuring shared approaches to global security challenges and collaboration on key capabilities. They also welcomed the partnership between Australia and France in developing Australia's Future Submarine Project with the aim of ensuring its successful implementation, and note the importance of concluding a sound and lasting Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the Commonwealth of Australia and Naval Group and binding intergovernmental social security agreement in the coming months.
- The leaders welcomed the signature of the bilateral Agreement regarding the Provision of Mutual Logistics Support between the Australian Defence Force and the French Armed Forces aiming to enhance their interoperability. This agreement is symbolic of the strategic depth and maturity of relations between France and Australia in the field of defence.
- Australia and France agreed to organise a defence industry symposium, under the stewardship of the Australian Minister for Defence Industry and French Minister for Armed Forces, respective Defence Departments and defence industry representatives to drive closer, mutually beneficial defence industry cooperation.
- They agreed to work together on the development of an appropriately trained and skilled workforce to support their close collaboration in the Australian naval industry.
- The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Both Australia and France share mutual interest in promoting adherence to international rules and norms, freedom of navigation and overflight, respect for the rights of all states, resilience to coercion, peaceful dispute resolution and open markets that facilitate the free flow of trade, capital and ideas across the region.
- They committed to bolstering this engagement in the wider region by undertaking cooperative maritime activities in the Indo-Pacific in the years to come, including passage exercise opportunities with the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Group and Australian participation in Jeanne d'Arc Mission future deployments in the Indo-Pacific region
- The two leaders committed to strengthening the Indian Ocean region's architecture and enhance regional collaboration on shared security and other challenges. They resolved in particular to cooperate closely and with likeminded partners to bolster regional maritime security. They agreed to involve other strategic partners more broadly in the growing cooperation between France and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, when and where appropriate, and are open to forming trilateral and other high-level dialogues to this end.
- The two leaders welcomed the contribution made by the European Union on security issues, including in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. They called for deeper cooperation between the EU and Australia in this field, notably in the context of the Framework Agreement as well as the Framework Participation Agreement between Australia and the EU. They supported an enhanced involvement of the EU in the Indo-Pacific region, including through relevant ASEAN-led processes.
- They welcomed the strong partnership shared in the Pacific, where we work closely to build regional security capacity and coordinate humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
- Recognising the increasing impact of destructive weather events in the Pacific, and their firm commitment to providing support and assistance to Pacific partners, the leaders welcomed the ongoing cooperation in response to humanitarian crises in the Pacific through the FRANZ Agreement. Leaders agreed to improve coordination of assistance, including through strengthening integrated civil-military responses, and align international response efforts behind the leadership of Pacific Governments.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean cooperation
- The two leaders renewed their commitment to the Antarctic Treaty system and its role in guaranteeing freedom of scientific investigation, reserving Antarctica exclusively for peaceful purposes and the protection of its environment, including the prohibition of any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research.
- They welcomed the continued close Australian-French collaboration on a proposal for a Marine Protected Area in East Antarctica to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to ensure biodiversity conservation and the resilience of marine ecosystems.
- They welcomed the positive steps underway to strengthen our fisheries cooperative enforcement in the Southern Ocean and support the security of our respective territories in the area.
- The two leaders welcomed the significant logistical cooperation between the two countries in relation to Antarctica, including the supply of our respective Antarctic stations. They welcomed opportunities for future scientific and educational cooperation provided by the basing of the new French icebreaker L'Astrolabe in Tasmania.
- They also welcomed the extensive and continuing scientific cooperation between the two countries. They welcomed possible further cooperation in the area of ice core research, with expected significant benefits for climate science.
Security and intelligence cooperation
- The two leaders underlined the deep and reciprocal trust between the two countries and recalled the importance of developing our partnerships on information exchange, cyber security, counter terrorism and countering foreign interference.
- The leaders reaffirmed their mutual determination, working with other partners, to defeat ISIL and Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, and to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.
- They recognised the common threat posed by terrorist groups to community cohesion, and discussed lessons that can be shared between our countries in countering terrorist propaganda, preventing and effectively responding to attacks and countering terrorism financing.
- Australia welcomed the convening by France of the "No money for terror" Conference held in Paris on April 25-26th 2018. Participating States and international organisations reaffirmed their strong commitment and identified actions to better fight financing of terrorism. Australia will host the next conference in 2019 with the aim of limiting terrorist access to financing and preventing further terrorist attacks around the world.
- The two leaders expressed concern at the grave and ongoing threat to regional and global peace and security posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. They urged North Korea to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCR). They committed to working together to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of UNSCRs and called on all UN Member States to do likewise.
- They reiterated their support for North Korea's complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation. They agreed to maintain maximum diplomatic and economic pressure until North Korea took genuine steps towards this end. The two leaders welcomed the historic inter-Korean summit and the forthcoming summit between the US and North Korea, and noted the 'Panmunjom Declaration' that commits to establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula, as a step towards the objective of denuclearisation.
- They deplored the use of chemical weapons, including abhorrent attacks in Syria and the UK, which are in violation of international law, including the Chemical Weapons Convention. They condemned in the strongest possible terms the use of a nerve agent in the Salisbury attack, and confirmed their solidarity with the UK and the UK's assessment that it is highly likely the Russian Federation was responsible. They agreed on the importance of upholding the norm prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and of holding perpetrators to account – including through the French-led International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, which will next meet on 17-18 May 2018, and of which Australia is a founding member.
- The leaders supported the continuation of the JCPoA nuclear agreement with Iran, while expressing concern about Iran's ballistic missile program and regional activities.
- As dependence on global information and communication technology networks increases, the potential damage of disruption caused by malicious cyber activities, whether by state actors or their proxies, criminal networks, or terrorists, is significant and growing.
- Like many countries, Australia and France are concerned by the increased willingness of states and non-state actors to pursue their objectives by undertaking malicious cyber activities contrary to international law and norms. The international rules-based order must be upheld online, just as it is offline.
- Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free and secure cyberspace underpinned by an international stability framework based on the application of existing international law, agreed voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour, confidence building measures, supported by cyber capacity building.
- Australia and France reaffirmed that existing international law applies to states' activities in cyberspace, including the law regarding the use of force, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international law regarding state responsibility. We reaffirm that the UN Charter applies in its entirety to states' activities in cyberspace.
- We will continue to promote operationalisation of norms of responsible state behaviour recommended in the 2015 report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security. We draw particular attention to the norm prohibiting the use of cyber tools to intentionally damage or impair the use and operation of critical infrastructure during peacetime. We reiterate states' obligation to respond to appropriate requests to mitigate malicious cyber activity aimed at the critical infrastructure of another state emanating from their territory.
- Leaders welcomed the signing of an agreement to enhance cooperation between the respective operational agencies in charge of cyber security. Given the importance both countries attach to effective responses to significant cyber incidents, they agreed to look at ways to improve immediate sharing of information and to work together on effective cyber incident responses. They also agreed to work closely in international fora to advocate for stronger global responses to cyber challenges.
- Just as cyber challenges are global, so too must our responses be. Leaders agreed to work together to facilitate stronger coordinated global action to discourage and respond to cyber incidents that cause significant harm. They committed to cooperating to preserve a peaceful and stable online environment that drives economic growth, promotes international stability and protects national security.
- Leaders recognised that it is not just state actors that are pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in cyberspace. The Internet is increasingly being used for malicious purposes by terrorists, child abusers and criminal groups. As agreed at the 2017 G20, the laws that apply offline should apply online. We are committed to ensuring frameworks are in place to keep the public safe while also upholding rights and fundamental freedoms. In this regard, leaders reiterated their shared commitment to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
- Governments alone cannot meet the challenges of the digital age. We will work together, in collaboration with industry, to protect the public from those who seek to do harm by using the internet for malicious purposes. We will continue to work closely with social media, technology, and telecommunications companies, and urge them to redouble their efforts to reduce cyber security risks, ensure confidence in the global digital ecosystem, and protect their users.
Cooperation in the field of science and technology, innovation and higher education
- The leaders welcomed the continuing high levels of collaboration in the field of science and technology, innovation and higher education, underpinned by the Australia-France Agreements on Cultural, and Scientific cooperation, signed in 1977 and 1988 respectively. Leaders agreed to further enhance the relationship between the two countries on higher education, science and innovation through, for these last two fields, the roadmap setting out the shared priority themes for our countries from 2018.
- Leaders welcomed the increasing collaboration between French and Australian universities, research institutions, businesses and communities across a range of fields, including:
- cooperation in the naval industry, including the launch of the "Maritime Connection Days in Australia" accelerator to boost French investment in and partnerships with the Australian maritime industry
- cooperation on space between the French Space Agency and Australia's research institutions, notably on space and Earth observation and to use Earth observation data to address societal challenges
- efforts to work together on science and technology to pursue the shared mission of preserving of coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world
- cooperation between the French Polar Institute and the Australian Government on climate science in Antarctica.
- Leaders committed to exploring ways to support further collaboration in science, higher education, research and innovation, including through student and scientific mobility, consistent with our respective national priorities and approaches.
Cooperation in the field of space
- Leaders welcomed the DIIS-CNES Letter of Intent signed last September, and expressed their will to extend space sector cooperation, with the view to strengthen the relationship through identifying topics of mutual interest, as well as future topics of interest for potential collaborative activities in the space sector. Both leaders noted the opportunity to continue that important collaboration once the Australian Space Agency has been established.
Educational and cultural cooperation
- Noting with satisfaction the importance of the numerous cultural, linguistic and educational exchanges which have developed between the two countries over the last few years, particularly within civil society and young people, the two leaders commit to working on strengthening educational and cultural links between the French and Australian people, particularly young people, and encouraging the development of multilingual programs in schools as well as arts.
Cooperation on the shared memory of the First World War
- Recalling the place of our shared memory of the First World War in Franco-Australian friendship, the two leaders welcomed the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux and agreed to the establishment of a joint collaborative program to support cultural, scientific, pedagogical and tourist exchanges associated with shared memory.
Cooperation on environmental issues and the fight against climate change
- The two leaders recalled the urgent need for global action to confront climate change. They renewed their commitment to sustainable development and the protection of the environment.
- They reaffirmed their shared commitment to the Paris Agreement and called for its swift and full implementation. To this end, they highlighted the importance of finalising the implementation guidance for the Paris Agreement at COP24 and the timely implementation of their nationally determined contributions. They recognised the Talanoa Dialogue as an opportune moment to reflect on the adequacy of collective climate action, and the global effort required to meet the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. They are conscious that the outcome of the Talanoa dialogue will inform pathways for ambition and inform Nationally Determined Contributions.
- They underlined the concrete support of their two countries for these objectives, on a global and regional level, notably through Action Agenda initiatives, such as those regarding Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS), the Nationally Determined Contributions Partnership, and the International Solar Alliance.
- The leaders agreed on the importance of climate action from economic actors and financial institutions to ensure transition to a low-emissions, more climate-resilient global economy, in particular the need for increasing efforts to facilitate the mobilisation of private capital. They noted successful respective efforts to this end, such as Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corporation and France's comprehensive green finance agenda. They agreed Australia and France would strengthen cooperation to mobilise private sector climate finance.
- Australia and France are also taking joint action to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reduction strategies for air and maritime transport, notably within ICAO and IMO, and welcome the adoption of an ambitious strategy in the latter, as promoted by the Tony de Brum declaration to which both of our countries adhered during the One Planet Summit.
- Leaders affirmed a shared commitment to working together for the sustainability of the planet, fighting against climate change, and for the environment. They agreed to enhance coordination on activities related to adaptation and biodiversity in the Pacific. They will coordinate work on the conservation and management of ecosystems, integrated management of coastal zones, fight against invasive alien species, and promotion of sustainable development through existing mechanisms such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). They agreed to work together to enhance resilience to natural disasters, including through strengthening infrastructure standards and building codes by working with multilateral development banks to develop and implement these standards in the Pacific.
- They welcomed the achievements of the French presidency of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). Australia looks forward to continuing this work to champion the protection and conservation of coral reefs as co-chair with Monaco and Indonesia of ICRI in 2018-19.
- Australia and France are world leaders in coral reef science. They agreed to work closely together through ICRI, including by engaging with other Pacific nations and complementing current reef management capability-building activities undertaken by France and Australia in the Pacific.
- Building on this momentum, the Leaders committed to deepen our collaboration and to work together in understanding the self-resilience of coral reefs in the broader Pacific region, including through a jointly funded study of up to three years on reef resilience in the Pacific, which will also be aimed at building capacity of Pacific countries and territories to understand reef self resilience factors. They agreed to develop practical approaches to build scientific knowledge, and to enable developing countries, especially in the Pacific, to access cutting edge reef management practices. They agreed to explore ways to partner between their respective research efforts, including through the Australian Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program, to better understand reef self resilience.
- They wish to pursue a constructive dialogue on a "Global Pact for the Environment" aiming to complement and improve the coherence of international environmental law, including its implementation.
- As founding Members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), they agreed to investigate opportunities to work jointly in the Indo-Pacific region. This is expected to include the development of a post-graduate solar engineering course specific to Pacific Island conditions and a free online solar training course for policy makers under the framework of the Solar Technology Application Resource Center (STAR-C) programme of the ISA.
- They welcomed the project to map environmental risks in the south of the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean, which will help to understand and anticipate the security consequences of climate phenomena.
- They wish to involve young people in the climate cause, and improve young people's awareness of protecting the environment and the oceans, noting that the "Shared Planet 2018-2021" educational and linguistic project is one means of doing this.