Australian trade and investment links with Gulf to go ahead

by Ray Clancy on March 16, 2011

in Money, Business and Finance

Australia expanding trade to Gulf region

Australia is pressing ahead with trade and investment links in the Middle East despite continued unrest in the region.

A major business mission will visit Queensland from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman in 2011, it has been announced.

The decision comes after the first ever meeting of the Australia/Gulf Cooperation Council in Abu Dhabi last week that was attended by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

‘Following our devastating natural disasters in January and February, I am telling the world that Queensland is well and truly open for business,’ Rudd said.

‘Ministers from all the Gulf States have expressed their sympathy for the people of Queensland, and more importantly their great willingness to support practical measures to help rebuild,’ he explained.

‘A high level visiting delegation this year is one way to support Queensland’s economy. It is an opportunity for Queensland businesses to expand trade and investment links; be they in agriculture, education, scientific research, banking and finance or tourism,’ he added.

He pointed out that Australia and the GCC countries share growing economic and strategic interests, reinforced by over 370,000 Australians of Arab descent contributing to Australian society, the more than 12,000 GCC nationals currently studying in Australia, and almost 23,000 Australians living in GCC countries. Merchandise trade between Australia and the GCC countries amounted to $8.7 billion in 2010.

The two sides agreed that GCC-Australia Strategic Dialogue constituted an important step forward to forge a comprehensive partnership for progress, peace and development and realize the shared aspirations of their peoples.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed and under its terms they agreed to hold annual meetings at Foreign Minister level to be held on alternating basis between the two sides. The MoU reaffirms the two sides’ desire to enhance and develop existing friendly relations in all fields, hold consultations over regional and international issues of mutual concern, and establish an effective mechanism for mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas including trade and investment, banking and finance, agriculture, education and scientific research.

The two sides welcomed the growing trade and strengthening of business and investment links between them. To build on this momentum, they expressed determination to conclude the Free Trade negotiations between Australia and the GCC, and hold the fifth round of negotiations as soon as possible.

The GCC countries expressed their sympathy to the Government and people of Queensland for the recent natural disasters to affect that state. They expressed their willingness to support practical measures to show solidarity with Queensland. To this end, Australia and the GCC agreed to engage with their business representatives and organisations to encourage a major business mission from GCC countries to visit Queensland in 2011, with the aim of expanding trade and investment links for mutual benefit.

They also discussed the ongoing events in the region. They expressed the hope that parties would reject all forms of violence in order to ensure national unity, territorial integrity and the preservation of national accord, as well as refraining from divisiveness and dispute. The two sides hoped that parties would adopt the language of dialogue and wisdom in support of efforts at reform and development aimed at fulfilling the aspirations of the people, and at the same time ensuring their safety and security.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: