Monday 06, March 2017 by William Mullally

The UAE-Australia two-way trade reached $8 billion in 2015-16

This includes a $3 billion trade in services that was 8.7 per cent higher over the year. Australia and Saudi Arabia also recorded a $2.8 billion two way trade and in goods and services.

The nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt have impressive trade relationships with Australia. The UAE and Australia shared an $8 billion two-way trade in goods and services in 2015-16, including a $3 billion trade in services that was 8.7 per cent higher over the year. Australia and Saudi Arabia also recorded a $2.8 billion two way trade and in goods and services.

Australia’s strong capability in health research and mining will be on display in the Middle East and North Africa region during the Australia Unlimited MENA 2017 (AU MENA) trade mission this month. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) will host its annual Australia Unlimited MENA roadshow from 11-19 March and several leading Australian universities, mining, and healthcare companies will be represented.

Australia’s dynamic health research expertise will be profiled during the fifth AU MENA campaign using the theme “collaborate to innovate.” For the first time, Austrade’s mining mission will be a focus of the roadshow, which will promote the bilateral trade, investment and cultural ties that exist between Australia and the MENA region. Major activities will take place in UAE and Saudi Arabia, and there will be associated programmes in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Egypt.

Australia’s ambassador to the UAE, Arthur Spyrou, said Australia’s mining companies had a lot to offer the MENA region in terms of developing a broad range of projects beyond the energy sector. “Australia is one of the world’s leading mining nations, with a particular expertise in the mining technologies and services that help to keep the world’s mines operational,” Mr Spyrou said. “At a time when many nations in the MENA region are exploring the potential of their mineral deposits this represents a good opportunity to talk about needs and capability.”

Through a series of high profile forums, targeted roundtables, and official meetings, AU MENA will provide introductions between Australian companies and key government officials, industry stakeholders, and projects in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Gerard Seeber, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Consul General to the UAE, said another focus this year was how Australian healthcare service firms can help MENA countries cope with growing demand. “Australia’s proven expertise in healthcare is well-positioned to assist the MENA region as the public and private sector work to develop a local medical tourism industry and try to prevent the spread of lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Mr Seeber said.

By 2020, spending in the GCC alone on healthcare will reach $69 billion. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 15,000 physicians and 1.8 million nurses and midwives. “So the need to enhance skill levels in the healthcare sector also offers clear opportunities for Australian education and training providers,” Mr Seeber said.

This year, AU MENA will also encompass a programme for Dairy Australia. The Australian dairy industry has had a healthy relationship with the GCC market, with 11 per cent of total dairy exports making its way into the region. 57 per cent of the GCC’s total dairy consumption was met through imports.

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