US Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Australia Joint Statement

Tuesday, 2 April 2024

Australia and the United States have enjoyed a strong relationship for over a century. In recent years, this relationship has broadened, deepened and strengthened. The AUKUS agreement and a reinvigorated Quad are emblematic of this increased cooperation, but the two also enjoy a robust commercial relationship; the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Australia, at US$757 billion in 2022, representing nearly a quarter of the total foreign investment there.  Meanwhile, Australian investment in the U.S. was at a similar level that year, $744 billion.  This accounted foralmost 30% of Australia’s total outbound investment.(i) 

We have shared values, similar perceptions regarding regional and global challenges, and agree on the need for multi-faceted engagement in the Indo Pacific. We have common interests in upholding the regional order and rule of law. Both governments have taken action accordingly. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Australia believe deeply in the bilateral relationship and support goals that both governments have set out, particularly as regards to the energy transition, technology development, and the promotion of innovation. Climate and clean energy cooperation form one of the pillars of the relationship, while the U.S.-Australia Innovation Alliance, announced last October, will focus on new areas of cooperation in science and critical and emerging technologies.  All these initiatives will require close, active engagement with the private sector.  In that vein, the U.S. Chamber and AmCham emphasize the following points: 

Technology Cooperation

  • Promoting Innovation. We support U.S. and Australian cooperation on science and critical emerging technologies, including in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cyber security.  We note, for example, that the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have launched new AI cooperation in responsible and ethical AI solutions to address pandemic preparedness, drought resilience, and other societal challenges.  The Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Australian National University are working to strengthen cooperation in research and education.  Major investments have been announced in data and AI infrastructure in Australia, and in large-scale training programs, and the two will also collaborate on promoting telecommunications supplier diversity and innovations, digital connectivity, cyber resilience, and subsea infrastructure.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI). The development of AI and the introduction of AI-based systems are growing exponentially. Over the next 10 to 20 years, virtually every business and government agency will use AI, with profound societal, economic, and national security impacts. Policy leaders must therefore undertake initiatives to craft thoughtful laws and rules for the development of responsible AI and its ethical deployment. As leaders in this area, the United States and Australia can play vital roles in the effort to create a global regulatory framework for trustworthy and responsible AI, including through maintaining a risk-based approach to regulation, and observing principles of good regulatory practice. 
  • Cybersecurity. Nearly 4,000 new cyberattacks occur every day around the world. Every 14 seconds, a company falls victim to a ransomware attack. Last year, the average cost of a data breach in the United States was $9.48 million, with similar losses elsewhere.(ii)  Strong cybersecurity requires international collaboration and true public-private partnership. U.S. Chamber and AmCham member companies have unique insights into the cyber threat landscape and can enhance security and reliance when fused with government intelligence.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Cybersecurity Framework 2.0, which is an important pillar for managing enterprise cybersecurity risks and threats.
  • The United States and Australia should seek to harmonize their approaches to regulation in the technology sector. Doing so would afford companies in both countries greater market reach and would encourage other partners in the region to adopt a shared approach to standardization, and thus generate further market-enabling opportunities. 

Getting to Net Zero.

  • Liquified natural gas (LNG). Both Australia and the United States are leading suppliers of LNG. Events of the past two years have demonstrated vividly the need for energy security, and LNG plays a vital role in filling this need, such as in helping Europe, Japan, and other trading partners diversify away from dependence on Russia.  LNG demand will rise into the 2040s, and that demand can be met in a manner that continues progress on emissions reductions. We strongly support global efforts to reduce methane emissions associated with natural gas production, transportation, and consumption. LNG lowers emissions by as much as 50% compared with conventional energy, and we call on both governments to pursue policies that will allow LNG to displace higher-carbon energy sources while providing greater energy security for allies. 
  • CCUS. Carbon capture and storage and related technologies hold great potential in the context of this transition, and Australia and the U.S. are also leaders in this space. Other countries in the Pacific region, such as Indonesia, are interested in, and have the geology for, large-scale carbon storage. We support efforts such as those of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program, to assist countries in developing the regulatory frameworks that will facilitate the handling, transportation, and deposit of carbon.
  • Other low-carbon technologies. U.S. companies are aggressively pursuing innovation and investment in other promising low-carbon technologies, including hydrogen, which can play a vital role in hard-to-abate industries, as well as biomethane and renewable natural gas (RNG), ammonia, and e-methane. Sustainable aviation fuel, which is identified in the Compact Action Plan, should also receive higher priority, particularly as Australia’s geography creates disproportionate emissions from travel.  
  • Negative emissions technologies. Building on our collaboration in LNG and CCUS, Australia and the United States should cooperate on technologies that literally draw carbon out of the atmosphere, thereby beginning address the emissions that have been released globally over the past half-century. 
  • Financing. Public-private partnerships will be essential to realizing our shared aspirations in getting to net zero.  The necessary capital can be generated, but other challenges discourage capital investment, including grid constraints, supply chains, labor, permitting and other challenges. The U.S. and Australia governments should work closely with the private sector to identify and address these constraints and bottlenecks.  

U.S.-Australia cooperation in these areas can catalyze further efforts to implement the policy changes required to support these technologies not only in the two countries, but also in forums such as the G7. Collaboration in R&D will help further develop the technology and deploy it at commercially viable scales.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Australia are eager to work with their respective governments in expanding cooperation in these areas through public private partnerships, and we urge both governments to engage the private sector vigorously in these areas.

(i) Investment data from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Figures converted to US dollars based on 2022 average exchange rate as reported by the IRS: 

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