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FOCUS Interview

Connect with Australia

We interviewed Mr Gerard Seeber, Council General and Senior Trade Commissioner for Middle East and North Africa, to get an overview of Australia’s trade relations with the UAE.


lease give us a brief background on the trade relations between the UAE and Australia?

The United Arab Emirates is Australia’s largest trading partner among all economies in the Middle East and North Africa, with two-way trade in goods valued at over AUD 6.3 billion in 2011. While there is no concrete data about services trade, it is estimated that it’s valued up to AUD 1.5 billion.

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What are the main products exported and imported between the two countries? As you probably know, both countries are major commodity exporters; it should not come as a surprise therefore that in terms of dollar value, main export items are agriculture and mining commodities from Australia and oil from the UAE. However, trade is happening across almost all other sectors too; construction, professional services, food and beverage, automotive, health and medical, training and education, sports, marine, aviation, sustainability and water management, IT and defence are just a few to mention.

How has the trade relation evolved over the decades?

Well, just look at the extraordinary story of Dubai in successfully developing worldclass infrastructure and a truly resilient economy over the same period and the rest is history. As Dubai and Abu Dhabi attempted to diversify their economies and reduce reliance on hydrocarbon, new business opportunities emerged for Australian products and expertise, which were well-placed to contribute to the UAE’s 40


astonishing economic development and growth, and as a result trade relationship also matured in both size and diversity. What is remarkable about Australia and UAE though is how quickly it has been expanded. Two decades ago, the Australian community and commercial presence in the UAE was of minor scale. Since then it has enjoyed exponential growth to an extent that today some 16,000 Australian call UAE home, many more visit each year and hundreds of Australian-owned companies are based across the Emirates. To a significant degree this has been driven by the commitment of the Emirates Airlines to its Australia routes, which began relatively modestly in 1996. Today, with Etihad, two airlines fly between UAE and four Australian major cities, 90 times each week. Many remarkable things happened on the back of this expansion – • It has furnished a channel through which Australians have discovered the amenity

and business potential of Dubai and the UAE. A whole new tourism segment has been established in the Gold Coast, catering to winter visitors from the UAE and the wider Gulf states. Emirates has become a household word in Australia reflecting the success of its sporting sponsorships, such as that of the Melbourne Cup. Emirates has invested substantially in the growth of associated sectors in Australia and now employs thousands of Australians in airport services, flight catering and hospitality (In Dubai alone the airline currently employs around 1500 Australians) The cargo capacity delivered by these airlines commitment of aircraft to the Australian route has given birth to a new avenue to export markets in the UAE.

That said, we should acknowledge the crucial role of both governments, and dedication from the highest level to nurture closer bilateral ties and boosting economic cooperation between the two countries over the past couple of decades.

How many Australian companies are in the UAE/Middle East?

We estimate that currently there are around 300 Australian firms across the UAE. It is worth mentioning that many of these companies offer services or products for the construction industry, and with the sluggish performance of this sector in the UAE in the recent years, some are now leveraging their presence in the UAE to cater other neighbouring markets in Middle East or South Asia.

What kind of investments is Australia making in the UAE? Are Australian companies keen on exploring opportunities in the Middle East?

For Middle Eastern companies, keen on investing in Australia- what advice would you like to give them and which sectors and areas would you highlight?

The bulk of investment in the UAE by Australians, which is estimated to stand around USD 1 billion dollars in today’s prices, aimed at establishing in-market presence for existing Australian companies that wished to do business in the UAE and/ or to capitalise on its position as a regional hub, to tackle other markets in the Middle East and beyond. A recent example I can give you is Austrak. The company is Australia’s largest railway sleeper manufacturer, which started production in its newest factory (their twelfth world-wide) earlier this year in Dubai. With a production target of 1.4 million sleepers per year, the factory will service international markets as well as supplement production for large projects in Australia. Dubai’s lower costs, highly developed infrastructure and the promising opportunities that are presenting themselves by GCC Rail projects have been the main drivers behind the Austrak investment in the UAE. On whether Australian companies are interested in business opportunities that MENA markets have to offer, the answer is yes in general. I have to admit though that the global financial crisis followed by the recent regional events has had short-term impact on the appetite of the Australian companies for business in the Middle East. The Australian Trade Commission’s (Austrade) plan for 2012-13 aims to fully restore the confidence of Australian firms in the region, by identifying and scoping out the opportunities that matches their capabilities. As a matter of priority, we are keen to facilitate Australian companies’ winning business in the Gulf railway projects, in sustainability which includes green building, energy efficiency, and water management and in major sport events. We also seek quality opportunities for Australian firms in agribusiness, aviation, automotive, education and training sectors.

Austrade is responsible for the promotion and attraction of productive foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia primarily in four Australian Government priorities for investment - tourism infrastructure, major economic infrastructure, innovation and clean energy - as well as three multi-State and Territory priorities. We therefore encourage any company or institutional investor that is interested in Australia to directly engage us for detailed advice and assistance on wide range of topics, such as business and regulatory environment, investment opportunities, selecting location or searching partners, and Australian government programmes and approvals. I have to mention though that we do not assist with real estate and portfolio investments, sales or representation offices, straight acquisitions, hostile takeovers or investments by individuals. In terms of sectorial priority for attracting investment from Middle East, Austrade Dubai would proactively promote opportunities that exist in major infrastructure (financing) and tourism infrastructure. This compliments a history of successful UAE investment in hospitality infrastructure, ports, and coastal developments in Australia, and also resonates with interest from some of the region’s major institutional investors to accumulate international infrastructure assets in recent years. Emphasising my initial point, Australia welcomes all productive investment projects, and we are keen to speak to any UAE entity that is pondering over an investment decision in Australia.

Are there any issues that foreign companies need to be aware of when they decide to set shop in Australia?

As you know, there are several benchmarking approaches for ranking the ease of doing business in different countries. In recent years, Australia has always been placed in top global rankings across all the major

reports. Strong and open-economy, business friendly-regulatory environment, skilled workforce, liquid financial markets, solid legal regime and corporate governance and quality of life are just some of the advantages Australia has to offer to companies that choose to operate in the country. Despite all these advantages, the fact is that every investment comes with its own set of challenges. Austrade seeks to provide the information required to make good investment decisions and to provide a coordinated approach that saves investors time and money – For starter, I highly recommend interested parties to visit our Website, which provides a wealth of data and facts in regards to investment and doing business in Australia.

Which incentives or benefits do you provide to foreign investors in Australia?

There are incentives, grants and tax breaks that are offered to international investors, depending on the nature and location of the investment project. Our organisation and the representatives of the Australian state government in the UAE work with potential investors to explore these benefits.

How do you see the bilateral economic relation evolving in the coming years? Any agreements being signed?

Australia and UAE are both devoted to enhance their links through commercial, military, cultural and educational relationships, and I can only see the bilateral trade to go from strength to strength. The strategic agreement for supplying uranium by Australia, which was signed in Abu Dhabi by the foreign ministers, is a testament to the positive outlook of the long term relations. It is worth mentioning that Australia’s free trade agreement negotiations with the GCC commence in July 2007. Australia is one of a number of countries negotiating FTAs with the GCC, however the Council has paused its trade negotiations with all partners pending a review of its trade policy. The Australian government is committed to resuming the negotiations with the GCC. NOVEMBER 2012


FOCUS Bilateral relations

Find the right partner The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is the top national association for bilateral trade and investment between Australia and the Arab League countries. AACCI is a member of the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (GUACCIA) and has fostered strong links with the Australian State and Federal governments since it began in 1975. Cynthia Dearin, CEO, AACCI, speaks to us about her take on these relations.


lease give us some details about Australia and Middle East trade relations. Which countries in the region are the top trading partners of Australia?

The Middle East and North African (MENA) region provides some of the most profitable and rewarding opportunities for Australian businesses and there is enormous potential to expand existing trade links between Australia and the MENA region. Australian firms have established a presence with many of the booming regional players, particularly in the Arabian Gulf. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are Australia’s largest two-way merchandise trading partners in the MENA region, with total trade standing at USD 6.4 billion and USD 1.9 billion respectively in 2011. Diverse opportunities also exist within other MENA markets, including North African economies such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. 42


What goods are exported and imported?

What is the role of AACCI in promoting bilateral relations?

Australia’s major merchandise exports include aluminium ores, passenger motor vehicles, wheat, meat and livestock, as well as travel and construction services. Key imports from the MENA include crude petroleum, fertilisers, liquefied propane & butane, pearls and gems and mineral manufactures (cement, concrete and artificial stone). Exports of fertilisers and minerals both grew significantly from 2009 to 2011, up 71.9% and 46.7% respectively. Australian companies have also built strong relationships with the MENA region in the mining, construction and agriculture industries and export services in all three areas. Australia also exports education to the MENA region and has about 20,000 MENA students studying at universities and tertiary colleges around Australia.

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is the peak national association for two-way trade and investment between Australia and the Arab World. Our mission is to assist Australian companies exporting to or expanding into MENA markets as well as Arab companies looking to invest in Australia. We specialise in providing members with commercial intelligence, business matching and networking opportunities. Our many events, conferences and tradevisits provide a unique opportunity for Australian and Arab companies to exhibit their products and services and network with potential clients. Our flagship event, the annual Australia Arab Business Forum and Expo attracts delegates from across the MENA region and industry sectors as well as Australian businesses and

government officials who actively support Australia’s expansion into the MENA. Our Guest of Honour at the 2012 Forum and Expo was Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, United Arab Emirates Minister for Foreign Trade. AACCI puts exporters in touch with firms already trading in or providing services to the MENA region, and can assist members to make direct contact with potential clients located in the GCC states. Our business matching service helps export-ready companies search, identify and screen potential MENA business partners. AACCI also conducts trade missions to Arab markets, exposing participants to new opportunities and contacts. AACCI supports its members and exporters to the Arab World by issuing Certificates of Origin and certifying other commercial export documents such as, invoices, health and other government issued certificates, Halal certificates, Letters of Free Sale and Letters of Support for Saudi Arabia visa applications.

If you were to get to talk to Middle East companies, how would you encourage them to invest in Australia? What reasons would you give them for doing business with Australia?

Australia offers a wealth of opportunity for businesses to succeed across a wide range of sectors including energy, mining, agriculture and services. Businesses can expect a stable and efficient regulatory environment, a highly skilled and multi-lingual workforce and a culture of innovation. Australia’s unparalleled economic record, world-class industry capabilities and unique cultural and geographic advantages in the world’s fastest growing region all form part of Australia’s impressive reputation as an investment destination.

On the other hand, Australian companies which are keen on exploring investment opportunities in the Arab countries- how do you help them and what is your advice to them?

AACCI assists Australian companies exploring investment opportunities in the MENA by providing commercial updates, business

Which sectors hold the most promise for Middle Eastern businesses in Australia? Australia offers a wealth of opportunity for businesses to succeed across a wide range of sectors including energy, mining, agriculture and services. Opportunities also exist in the research and development, manufacturing, ICT and travel and tourism sectors.

How do you see the trade and investment relations in the next five years? Cynthia Dearin, CEO, AACCI

matching services and opportunities to participate in trade missions. New exporters to the MENA region should spend time gaining a real understanding of the markets they intend to deal with, before they start trading. This includes familiarizing themselves with the culture, traditions and customs of the target market, understanding the laws and regulations and seeking advice on how business is done in-country. A great way to gain this type of exposure is to join an AACCI trade mission to the region.

If Middle Eastern companies want to set up a branch or office in Australia, how should they go about it? What legal, financial and business support services does the government offer?

Australia has an open business culture that encourages the establishment of foreign businesses. It is possible to enter the Australian market as long as certain regulations and guidelines are followed. The Australian Trade Commission – Austrade – is the Australian Federal Government’s trade and investment development agency and can provide the correct legal, financial and business support for new businesses establishing in Australia. There are also state-level government bodies that can assist new branches and offices by providing regionspecific advice. AACCI can assist MENAbased firms make contact with the relevant Federal and State contacts in Australia or in their home country.

There is enormous potential to expand Australia’s already significant trade and investment relations with the MENA region in the next five years. Whereas economic instability has plagued European and North American markets since the global financial crisis, MENA markets, particularly the economies of the Gulf States continue to grow, providing a relatively secure environment for foreign investment. Countries such UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar offer investment opportunities in sectors where Australian firms excel, including energy, infrastructure, agribusiness and education. For example, the emergence of Qatar and Australia as global leaders in the production of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) suggests that we will see increased levels of technology transfer and interaction between the two countries in the near future. Similarly, the signature of an agreement between the UAE and Australia in August 2012 for the supply of uranium to the UAE looks set to significantly boost trading relations between the two countries on that front. In other parts of the Arab world, rapidly expanding populations, eager for high-quality goods and services also provide ready markets for the export of Australian livestock, food, technology, goods and education. With food security a hot topic across the MENA region, Australia offers a clean, green, transparent and politically stable environment market can deliver secure, sustainable affordable sources of food to MENA populations. Several food security initiatives between Australia and MENA countries are already underway and these look set to expand as more MENA countries begin to pursue food security strategies in foreign markets. NOVEMBER 2012


FOCUS New South Wales

Look East! New South Wales is located in the eastern part of Australia, with Sydney as its capital. Barry O’ Farrell, Premier, New South Wales, talks to us about his opinion on bilateral trade relations between the UAE and NSW and what the future holds.


he United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) enjoy a strong relationship with many opportunities for growth in trade and investment. Talking about this, Mr. O’Farrell said, “I visited the UAE in May this year to personally deliver the message that my Government is committed to strengthening the relationship between NSW and the UAE.I was pleased that the senior government and business officials I met were keen to learn more about NSW and the opportunities for us both. This visit was my first to the region as Premier of NSW and was also symbolic in emphasising the importance of our State’s international engagement.” Bilateral trade between NSW and the UAE was worth almost AUD 504 million in 2010-11, an increase of 151% on 2005-06. NSW’s main merchandise exports to the UAE are iron and steel, office machines, vegetables and fruit, and meat and meat products. Over the past ten years, vegetables and fruit have become more



significant exports to the UAE. The main imports from the UAE are petrol and petroleum products, natural and manufactured gas, mineral manufactures, other manufactured items and textile yarn, fabrics and made up articles. Elaborating on how they have been working to promote the bilateral ties, he stated “To back this commitment we have a NSW Government Business Office in Abu Dhabi which is working to develop further investment and trade opportunities across a range of sectors. My Government has ambitious plans to rebuild the State’s infrastructure to improve our competitiveness for investment and jobs. We welcome investment in infrastructure. The Government established Infrastructure NSW to shape a 20 year state infrastructure strategy to drive our infrastructure investment.” The final strategy, to be released soon, will identify what infrastructure the State needs to achieve economic growth and how

to activate both public and private sector resources to deliver it. Investor friendly policies have been put in place and there is demand from the public and private sectors for new assets. According to Mr. O’ Farrell, the Government released a 10-year strategic plan for the State – NSW 2021 – which makes clear that infrastructure development is a major focus for their State. “We are taking a proactive approach to privately financed projects, or public private partnerships as we call them in NSW. There are infrastructure investment opportunities in rail, roads, social housing, ports and power generation. There are likely to be more opportunities in motorways, health projects and recycling initiatives,” he explained. NSW is also taking the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver a new world class financial district in its capital city, Sydney. Known as Barangaroo, the development will see 22 hectares on Sydney’s CBD harbour front become the new financial centre of Sydney and the Asia Pacific. Once completed, Barangaroo will further enhance Sydney’s status as a global city. He is quick to add that he hopes it will be a place where Middle East companies will choose to locate their Australasian headquarters. Mr. O’ Farrell then shifted the discussion to a topic that is of importance to them when dealing with the UAE – Islamic finance. “When I visited Dubai, I was pleased to take part in an Islamic finance roundtable organised by the Dubai Government. Attracting conventional and Islamic finance investment into infrastructure and other sectors in NSW is an important part of my Government’s efforts to enhance Sydney’s position as a leading international financial services centre. As a result of the roundtable, I received some practical ideas on how NSW and Australia can better accommodate this type of investment. The NSW Government is working with the Australian Government to create a level playing field that can accommodate the characteristics of Islamic finance on an equal basis. NSW can be a secure and reliable partner

Barry O’ Farrell, Premier, New South Wales

and supplier to the UAE in a range of sectors including: • infrastructure and construction • financial services and • manufactured food products. Many NSW companies are doing business in these sectors in the UAE. While in Dubai, I oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Government and the Dubai International Finance Centre Authority which will see NSW and Dubai working together to grow their banking and financial services sectors. The MoU recognises that Sydney and Dubai are both significant regional financial centres, have common interests, expertise and objectives and can work together to achieve their objectives. This agreement will facilitate greater contact between Sydney and Dubai and promote potential investment opportunities in NSW and in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. NSW is rich in mineral resources. Our State produces a diverse range of minerals including coal, metals, industrial minerals and construction materials.” he added. “NSW is a low-cost supplier to world markets and we are consolidating our position as a value-adding centre for processed metals and mineral products. The strength of our mining industry is a result of prospective geology, welldeveloped infrastructure, low-average operating costs, leading-edge mining

technologies and an available and highlyskilled workforce,” Mr. O’ Farell commented. Many international mining companies have already recognised these features of our industry and seen the benefits of establishing in NSW. They include Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Peabody and Idemitsu. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, exporting almost 300 million tonnes in 2010. NSW accounts for 39% of Australian coal exports. The Government encourages investment in exploration by domestic and foreign companies, with large areas of the State remaining open to greenfields investment. In addition to coal, opportunities exist in iron ore, copper, gold, zinc and rutile, among others. The NSW Government recently amended legislation to permit exploration for uranium in the State to better understand and evaluate what resources may exist in NSW. The ban on uranium mining remains in place. “One of our State’s greatest strengths is our education sector. Students from the UAE are choosing to study in Australia – with more than 1300 studying in our country last year. While that number is modest, we are honoured that students from the UAE see NSW as the right place in which to gain a high quality education,” he added. NSW also welcomes international tourists. There has also been a strong increase in visitors from the UAE. In the five years from 2002 to 2006, almost 18,000 people from the UAE visited NSW. But in the five years to 2011, just over 44,000 visited – that’s a significant increase. NSW is keen to develop stronger government, business and organisational relationships across the Middle East. There is much potential in trade, investment, tourism and education and further collaboration will bring mutual benefit. As the UAE continues its economic expansion, NSW has the knowledge, expertise and readiness to partner with companies and institutions there to facilitate long term growth. “I am confident that the relationship between NSW and the UAE will continue to grow and prosper,” concluded the Premier. NOVEMBER 2012


FOCUS Victoria

The food bowl of Australia Trade relations between Australia and the Middle East are warm, multifaceted and growing rapidly. The relationship is underpinned by extensive trade relations as well as people-to-people contacts. We take a look at the investment opportunities in Victoria.


ictoria has a strong relationship with the United Arab Emirates and a number of countries within the MENA region. This relationship includes a history of mutual business participation with many countries in the region playing a vital role in the Victorian economy as both a source of imports and as an export destination. 46


The MENA rates as the third largest regional market for Victoria’s commodity exports behind South East Asia and China and in 2011/2012 the region represented USD 2.5 billion to Victorian exporters. There are several prominent MENA companies currently operating in Victoria that cover a wide range of

sectors. Airline services from the region, including Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates airline all have a presence in Victoria. Companies focused on food and beverage and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) continue to strengthen ties to Victoria. The Middle East is now Victoria’s largest market for food and beverage.

In 2011/12, food exports to the region totalled approximately AUD 988 million. Automotive is the State’s largest export to the region, with 88% of Victoria’s manufactured passenger vehicles exported to the MENA region from Toyota and Holden. Victoria is also a major service provider to the area with a large number of Victoria’s leading developers, architects, project managers and education providers operating in the region, many with representative offices. International education continues to be a key service export to the region and Victorian university enrolments from the MENA region grew by 12% in 2011 from 2010. On the other hand, total imports from the Middle East and North Africa totalled AUD 879 million for FY12, representing an 18% growth from FY11. Key imports from the region were crude petroleum, fertilisers and aluminium (Bahrain) and confidential items. The largest market for imports was Libya (AUD 439 million of crude petroleum).

Which sectors offer investment opportunities?

Food and beverage Victoria is the food bowl of Australia, accounting for only 3% of Australia’s land mass, and 30% of Australia’s total food output. Victoria has been investing in infrastructure projects to boost the supply and security of water to Victoria’s food bowls. With the enhanced irrigation system there will be numerous opportunities for investment, exports and partnerships with Victorian food producers. Victoria is also the home of various research and technology organisations, such as CSIRO, Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences – the largest provider of food industry R&D in Australia. The CSIRO can assist with R&D on every stage of food processing. Victoria is the preferred location for advanced food and beverage processing. Victoria’s dairy production accounts for 86% of Australia’s national dairy

About The Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO)

Established in 1997, the Victorian Government Business Office, Dubai (VGBO) is operated by the State Government of Victoria to help promote Victorian trade and investment in the Middle East and North Africa region. For more information, please contact Kassem Younes at

exports. It produces a range of high quality consumer products, including fresh milk, UHT, specialised milk powders. Murray Goulburn Cooperative, Australia’s largest dairy producer, and a world leader in dairy innovation, has announced plans to immediately establish a strategic business unit based in Dubai to develop strong relationships

Victoria works with investors to ensure that establishing their business in Melbourne is as simple and cost-efficient as possible. Invest Victoria guides potential investors on a confidential basis through any statutory assessments or approvals their business needs, including,Municipal planning permits, Building Permits,

Victoria has been investing in infrastructure projects to boost the supply and security of water to Victoria’s food bowls. With the enhanced irrigation system there will be numerous opportunities for investment, exports and partnerships with Victorian food producers.

with key customers and market the Devondale brand to consumers in the region. Dairy brand Bega and its wholly owned subsidiary Tatura Milk Industries will also spend AUD 7.8 million on expanding their Tatura facility to accommodate increased demand from the Middle East for dairy products.

The next step Australia is rated number two in the world for the shortest time needed to set up a business - just two start-up days, ahead of Singapore (three) and Canada (five). That’s because the regulatory framework underpinning key institutions and Victoria’s business environment is solid, straightforward and simple. The State’s investment promotion agency, Invest Victoria provides free confidential services and professional advice to international investors, as well as connecting potential investors to an extensive network of contacts to create investment opportunities. Invest

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approval for certain industrial projects and so forth. As part of its dedicated Trade Engagement Program, the Victorian Government has identified the Middle East and North Africa as a market with significant trade and investment opportunities for Victorian businesses. In February 2013 the Victorian Government will take a Super Trade Mission to the Middle East – a mission of more than 150 companies to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. This will be the largest ever trade mission to visit the Middle East from Australia. The mission will position Victoria as a clean, safe and reliable market for Victorian goods and services, and build on the success of previous smaller, sector-focused activity in the Middle East, including a mission in February 2012 which yielded estimated export outcomes of AUD 235 million over two years. NOVEMBER 2012


FOCUS Western Australia

Under the western sun Western Australia (WA) has a huge natural endowment of mineral and energy resources and the State’s economic strength is largely built on its mineral resource and oil and gas sectors. It also has a strong agricultural sector and immense tourism potential. The Western Australian Trade Office highlights the business potential for Middle East companies in this part of Australia.


A produces over 50 different mineral and resource products in commercial quantities, most notably iron ore, crude oil & condensate, LNG, alumina, nickel, limonite, gold and salt. Record investment levels pushed the value of the State’s mineral and petroleum industry to a record AUD 138 billion in November 2011. In March 2012 there was AUD 167 billion of resource projects under construction or committed in WA, and a further AUD 151 billion under consideration. WA is in the roughly the same time zone as China and most of South East Asia - and over half the world’s population. It is a prime location for Middle Eastern businesses looking to explore the Australian or Asian markets, and it is Australia’s gateway to Africa. It’s well established relationships with these regions are an added benefit for those companies seeking a base to move into those markets. The Government of Western Australia is proactive in initiating and supporting 48


Western Australian trade to international markets and in promoting inward investment to the State.

Some key figures: • State economy valued at AUD 217 billion in 2010-11 • Accounted for 16% of the Australian economy in 2010-11, above its 10.4% share of the population • Contributed 46% of Australia’s merchandise exports in 2011 - more than Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria combined • Contributed 24% (AUD 49 billion) of Australia’s business investment in 201011, which rose 13% from the previous financial year • WA had 52% of Australia’s total value of resource projects under construction or committed in April 2012 The United Arab Emirates emerged as one of Western Australia’s top ten export markets last decade, a position it has held for most

of this decade. It is currently ranked as the State’s 11th largest market for goods exports valued at AUD 836 million. There is a wealth of trade opportunities available in a number of sectors, including: • Agriculture • Building and construction • Mining and petroleum services

Top five commodities exported from Western Australia to the UAE include: alumina, heavy mineral sands, barley and meat, gold coin, vegetable and inorganic chemical elements. Top five imports from UAE to Western Australia include: crude petroleum oils, sulphur and iron pyrites, civil engineering plant and equipment and glassware. Open to investment Western Australia welcomes foreign investment and business migration. The State offers a great climate for investors. The local economy is growing strongly -

despite remaining economic troubles in many other parts of the world. Strong export growth is predicted for Western Australia’s resources industry and medium and long term prospects appear good. In addition, and most importantly, Western Australia is a secure place to invest. It has very low levels of sovereign risk and an independent judiciary that ensures property rights are protected.

Resources With an abundance of natural minerals and resources, Western Australia has seen the development of huge resource projects and many global companies including Rio Tinto, Chevron, AngloGold Ashanti and BHP Billiton have regional headquarters in the state. Western Australia is keen to attract exploration, development and value‐adding processing in the resources and energy arena, together with the relevant supporting industries and technologies associated with some of these major resource projects. The multiplicity of projects underway or planned also provides significant business opportunities for infrastructure companies to support the developments taking place, particularly in the areas of engineering construction, transportation and power supply. The value of engineering construction rose 32% (AUD8 billion) to AUD 32 billion in Western Australia in 2011. While the mineral and energy resources sector is the predominant focus of activity and attention, the Western Australian economy has increasingly diversified to allow it to cushion itself from fluctuations in the international commodities market. Oil and gas Western Australia is set to become the world’s second largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas by 2020. The state is home to an estimated 126 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and the volumes from new discoveries are far outstripping current production levels. In 2010 more than eight trillion cubic feet of gas was discovered in WA, and of this only one trillion cubic feet was produced, providing for extensive future stockpiles. Western Australia is also home to the world’s largest LNG Project, Gorgon, which is


The Western Australian Trade Office (WATO) assists in identifying, promoting and facilitating export and business growth opportunities in the areas of resources, agrifood, fisheries and wine. Facilitating relationships between industry groups, the Government of Western Australian and private enterprise, WATO is here to assist Middle East and African investors interested in pursuing commercial opportunities in Western Australia. For further information about what assistance the Western Australian Trade Office can provide in the areas of resources, agrifood, fisheries and wine, please contact,

located on Barrow Island off the north coast of the state. The Gorgon Project will produce 15 million tonnes of LNG per year. That’s enough to fill Wembley stadium 17,000 times. Western Australia has a strong track record for implementing multi-billion dollar oil and gas projects. The State dominates Australian petroleum production, in 2011 accounting for 85% of the nation’s LNG and 77% of oil and condensate production. In September 2011 Chevron Australia made its final investment decision on the AUD 29 billion Wheatstone LNG project off the Pilbara coast near Onslow, and construction began in December 2011. There are more than 20 international oil and gas companies with offices in Perth. They include Chevron, Woodside, Shell, ExxonMobil and Total. Key facts • Value of mineral and petroleum industry 2011: AUD107 billion • Value of crude oil and condensate production 2011: AUD12 billion • Value of LNG production 2011: AUD9 billion • Value of committed oil and gas projects as of March 2012: AUD 105 billion • Value of planned oil and gas projects March 2012: AUD 83 billion

Agribusiness Western Australia has one of the most innovative and successful agriculture and food industries in the world. Its location puts it in broadly the same time zone as 60% of the world’s population. Western Australia is primed to meet the growing demand for food from Asia and the Middle East, and to further develop seasonal market opportunities into the northern hemisphere.

The state’s agriculture and food businesses are already making major inroads into international markets and have a reputation for quality produce. In 2010-11, agrifood and forestry exports remained strong in challenging global market conditions, reaching a value of AUD 5.2 billion. Western Australia is a world leader in dry land farming, and now exports this expertise. It is also one of the most pest- and disease-free agricultural production areas in the world. To maintain Western Australia’s competitiveness, the Government works to continually cut red tape and promote investment in world-class research and development. This includes leading on new technologies, farming techniques and processing – and ensuring on-going sustainability and competitiveness.

Tourism Confidence in Western Australia’s tourism industry is strong with tourism development and infrastructure improvements planned around the State in the next few years. In particular, the Perth hotel market has experienced the strongest sustained period of room rate growth and occupancy out of the ten major Australian hotel markets and continues to enjoy double digit RevPAR growth anticipated to continue over the next five years. Landbank is a Tourism Western Australia initiative which has been created to ensure that there is an adequate supply of tourism development sites to meet the future needs of the tourism industry in Western Australia. The Landbank initiative will make it easier for the right developer with the right development philosophy to invest in tourism accommodation development in Western Australia. NOVEMBER 2012


FOCUS Queensland

Explore a new destination Queensland has a strong and growing relationship with the UAE. In addition to the Queensland – Abu Dhabi Memorandum of Understanding, ‘sister city’ ties exist between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi, and between Gold Coast and Dubai. We take a look at the tourism sector and the investment opportunities it offers.


ueensland’s Gold Coast has been known for many years as a popular tourist destination for Emiratis escaping the intense summer heat for a relaxing and fun-filled family holiday. The recent announcement of Etihad Airways increasing flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi from three times a week to a daily service is supported by an invitation to the UAE to explore more of what Queensland has to offer. Brisbane, the third-most populous city in Australia, offers a gateway to the natural wonders of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island, all of which contribute to Queensland’s booming tourism industry. Tourism is the state’s second largest export earner, contributing USD 17.56 billion to Queensland’s gross state product and employing over 221,000 Queenslanders. More than 18 million domestic and international overnight visitors are attracted 50


to Queensland each year with a collective spend of USD 17.2 billion. Queensland boasts a safe, friendly and culturally diverse lifestyle attracting migrants from both within Australia and overseas, contributing to the state’s population and economic growth. Queensland is forecast to grow at a faster rate than the overall Australian economy, due to a strong contribution from business investment, reflecting increasing investment on resources sector development. The Queensland Government is contributing more to infrastructure than any


other Australian state, continuously upgrading transport, energy and water infrastructure while also supporting the development of telecommunications, innovation and research. International education is an important component of the Queensland economy. International students contribute to both the supply of tourism through employment in the industry and demand for tourism through personal and family investment in the Queensland tourism experience. In addition to its natural beauty, desirable lifestyle and strong economy Queensland offers business advantages for investors in Queensland’s tourism and services sectors. The Queensland Government has an active pro-business attitude that encourages entrepreneurship in the tourism sector, particularly investment into innovative tourism product development in iconic locations to offer distinctive experiences to national and international visitors. Urban and regional investment opportunities exist in the South East, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns and many other regional centres. Strong government support for Queensland’s thriving tourism industry combined with competitive operating costs, a highly-skilled workforce and strategic Asia–Pacific location makes Queensland an attractive environment for investment.

Trade and Investment Queensland is the Queensland State Government’s export and investment agency. They work closely with national and international companies looking to relocate, expand or develop their businesses. Trade and Investment Queensland has representative offices in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For more information, please email

Trade & Export Middle East - Country Focus - Australia  

Trade & Export Middle East - Country Focus - Australia

Trade & Export Middle East - Country Focus - Australia  

Trade & Export Middle East - Country Focus - Australia