In a significant move towards enhancing international trade relations, the Australian Government, under the leadership of the Albanese administration, has announced its plans to initiate negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The decision to engage in these negotiations marks a pivotal step in expanding Australia’s global trade footprint, particularly in the Middle East. The Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Special Minister of State, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, has emphasized the government’s commitment to driving Australian exports and economic growth through this initiative. According to a media release from his office, the government seeks to create more well-paying jobs across the country by securing a trade agreement with the UAE.
The UAE, known as a gateway to the Middle East region and beyond, has been a substantial trade partner for Australia. In 2022, the two-way goods and services trade between the countries was valued at an impressive $9.26 billion. The UAE is already a significant market for key Australian exports, including alumina, meat, oil seeds, and educational services, evidenced by the presence of three Australian university campuses within the country.
This proposed trade agreement is seen as an opportunity to create new and commercially meaningful opportunities for Australian goods and services exporters, especially those looking to diversify their trade avenues. Moreover, it is expected to deepen cooperation in the shared goal of transitioning to net-zero emissions through increased investment.
The Australian Government has assured a commitment to broad consultation and engagement with stakeholders and the community to inform the negotiation process. Interested parties are encouraged to provide written submissions, particularly focusing on specific trade and investment impediments that the Australia-UAE trade agreement could address. Detailed information on making submissions is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website.
The President and National Chair of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI), Mr. Mohamed Hage, has welcomed this initiative. He highlighted the importance of this agreement in offering Australian businesses the chance to diversify their overseas trade, indicating strong support from the business community.
Senator Farrell, echoing the government’s stance, stated, “The Albanese Government is committed to supporting Australian businesses diversify overseas markets. A trade deal with the UAE will strengthen our relationship with one of our most important trading and investment partners in the Middle East. More trade means more export opportunities for Australian businesses, more national income, and more well-paying local jobs.”
As Australia embarks on this promising venture with the UAE, the anticipation of beneficial outcomes for both nations’ economies and trade relationships is high. This agreement could pave the way for a more diversified and robust Australian presence in international markets, aligning with the country’s broader economic and environmental goals.