The European Union (EU) currently comprises 27 member states in a political and economic union, representing a population of over 500 million. Within the EU, Queensland’s priority markets are Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and Ireland. Non-EU priority markets in Europe include the UK, Switzerland and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Europe offers many opportunities to leverage the Advance Queensland initiative, given the strong technology hubs in London, Dublin, Paris, Stockholm and Berlin. Venture capital investment into the UK’s tech sector reached an all-time high in 2017, with UK firms attracting £2.99 billion – almost double the total amount invested in 2016. UK firms attracted almost four times more funding in 2017 than Germany (£694 million), and more than France, Ireland and Sweden combined.


The EU ranks as the world’s second-largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP), but few people globally see it as an economic leader ahead of China or the USA, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Based on purchasing power parity, EU member countries collectively generated $20.3 trillion in GDP in 2016, second only behind China.1


With a population of more than 510 million people, the EU accounts for one-fifth of all global imports and exports. Australia commenced free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the EU in June 2018.


The EU is Australia’s second-largest trading partner and continues to be the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2017, the EU’s FDI in Australia was valued at close to $190 billion.

The UK is the third-largest source of inbound FDI to Australia, valued at $83 billion in 2017.


On 29 March 2017, the UK government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Under the terms of Article 50, the UK will exit the EU in 2020. Current negotiations will influence the nature of the exit and determine impact.

View the Export Council of Australia’s hour-long webinar on the impact of Brexit

1Source: Pew Research Center, 9 August 2017

Wind turbines in Galicia, Spain

Europe and UK opportunities



  • Processed food
  • Infrastructure, transport and logistics
  • Coal and LNG
  • Education and training
  • METS, mining and advanced manufacturing
  • Technologies and financial services

Mid term

  • Security and defence
  • Innovative technology
  • Scientific research and development collaboration
  • Tourism investment
  • Agribusiness


  • Renewable energy
  • Innovative technology
  • Shale oil and gas