Australia, like other nations, has been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has put in place strong public health measures to slow the spread of the virus, and introduced economic stimulus packages to support Australian businesses and consumers.
Despite these challenging circumstances, Australia remains open for business and continues to welcome international investors and business partners. Our country’s resilience, open business settings and record of strong economic performance over the past 28 years mean Australia is likely to recover well, providing a safe and stable environment for investment.
Changes to investment screening thresholds
Australia welcomes foreign investment consistent with our national interest. On 29 March 2020, the Australian Government announced temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework. From this date, all proposed foreign investments into Australia subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 will require approval, regardless of value or the nature of the foreign investor.
To ensure sufficient time for screening applications, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will extend timeframes for reviewing applications from 30 days to up to six months.
This does not mean all applications will necessarily require six months. Priority will be given to investment proposals that protect and support Australian business and Australian jobs. FIRB will seek to accommodate commercial deadlines wherever possible.
For more information, see the Q&A document on the FIRB website.
On 17 April 2020, the Australian Government introduced amendments to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulation 2015.
Read the update from David Irvine, the Chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board.,
A high-resilience economy
During this uncertain time, Australia continues to offer a safe, stable and welcoming environment for international investors.
Australia’s stable economic growth, strong institutions and open markets attract high levels of investment. In 2018, Australia was the eighth largest recipient of FDI inflows worldwide, ahead of India, Canada, France and Germany. The European Union and North America contribute almost half of all FDI in Australia, with solid capital inflows from China, Japan, Hong Kong and ASEAN member nations.
The country’s economic resilience is testimony to sound management, longstanding trade and investment ties with major markets and a global reputation as a reliable exporter of natural resources and agricultural commodities. A mature financial services sector with assets of around A$8.5 trillion provides a significant source of local capital.
Support for Australian businesses
The Australian Government has acted swiftly to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus. A total of A$320 billion is being injected into the economy to support Australian businesses and workers during the outbreak, and help ensure economic activities resume quickly once the pandemic recedes.
For detailed information on Australian Government support to businesses, visit www.business.gov.au.
For detailed information on the Australian Government’s economic response to the coronavirus, visit www.treasury.gov.au.
Thanks to high rates of technology adoption, many Australian businesses are operating as well as conditions allow.
Austrade encourages buyers that have an existing commercial relationship with an Australian supplier to contact suppliers directly to confirm supply and renew orders.
The Australian Government has launched the International Freight Assistance Mechanism to assist Australian agricultural and fisheries businesses to export their produce to key markets in Asia and the Middle East. This will help ensure high-value, in-demand Australian exports flow back to key destinations as markets recover and reopen. Return flights will bring back medical supplies, medicines and equipment.
Where Australia is temporarily unable to offer a good or service, Austrade is supporting exporters and customers to maintain links so that business can bounce back as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes.
Austrade supports investors and customers worldwide. Our global network of more than 80 offices can provide the latest information and advice on investing in and doing business with Australia.
Please contact the Austrade representative in your region for assistance.