Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Australia accounted for 10 per cent of the UAE's grain imports in 2011. Tim Wimborne / Reuters
Australia accounted for 10 per cent of the UAE's grain imports in 2011. Tim Wimborne / Reuters

Australia delegation aims to win food trade deals in the Emirates

Australia has sent its biggest trade delegation to the Emirates on a mission to grab a bigger slice of the country's burgeoning Dh295 billion foreign trade in food.

Australia has sent its biggest trade delegation to the Emirates on a mission to grab a bigger slice of the country's burgeoning foreign trade in food - worth nearly Dh80 billion (US$21.7bn) in 2011.

More than 170 companies from the state of Victoria are visiting the country in a bid to bag contracts in food, tourism, education and other areas.

The visit follows a trip last year in which companies from the state secured A$240million (Dh909m) of projected exports to the region over the next two years.

Australian exports to the UAE reached A$2.2bn in 2011, up 11 per cent from the year before.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council trade bloc is one of the largest destinations for Victoria's commodities exports, valued at US$2.1bn in 2011-2012 and Victoria's food products such as dairy, meat and live animals contribute to food exports valued at approximately $670m in 2011-12," said Louise Asher, the minister for innovation, services and small business, and minister for tourism and major events in Victoria.

Victoria, Australia's largest food exporter, is a key supplier of meat, livestock, wheat and dairy products to the region, a net importer of most food goods.

The UAE is the largest market for Victorian beef and other meat, accounting for A$86m in exports. More than 70 of the state's food and beverage companies are attending the Gulfood event, which starts in Dubai today, 20 more than the number of two years ago.

The size of the delegation reflects the growing importance of food imports to the UAE economy. During the past five years, the country's foodstuff foreign trade has grown 84 per cent to reach Dh295bn ($80.32bn), according to a report released yesterday from the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Imports account for two thirds of the total. Australia accounted for 15 per cent of the UAE's meat imports and 10 per cent of its grain imports in 2011, said the report.

Investors from the Arabian Gulf have also been eyeing tracts of land in Australia to secure future supplies of grain and cattle. Hassad Australia, a Qatari government-owned company, last year bought a A$9m cattle property in South Australia and is negotiating with farmers to buy more land, The Australian newspaper reported last week.

John Butler, Victoria's commissioner in the Middle East and North Africa, said the state, located in Australia's south-east corner, was open to the possibility of talks with Middle Eastern buyers about land sales.

But officials from the state are keen to widen exports into other areas.

"This year we have representations across nine different sectors including defence, equine, higher education and vocational education and training, food and beverage, agribusiness, tourism, marine, infrastructure and water," he said.

More than 30 of the companies are within the equine industry. Both Victoria and the UAE share a passion for horses and horse racing.

"Melbourne has a huge amount of expertise in the racing industry and a lot of horses are bred in Australia, especially endurance horses," he said.

"We are bringing the equine industry together and leading them to opportunities."

Toyota Camry vehicles remain the largest export to the UAE, with a plant in the state making the cars.

As well as the UAE, the delegation is also visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

"There are daily flights by Emirates, Eithad Airways and Qatar Airways direct from Melbourne to the Gulf which has presented significant trade and tourism opportunities between Victoria and the Middle East North Africa region," said Ms Asher.

 

tarnold@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Would you like it in blue? An Afghan shopkeeper shows a burqa to a customer at a bazaar in Herat. (Aref Karimi / AFP /  April 13, 2014)

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 24, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 24, 2014.

 That's asking a lot: this four-bedroom duplex penthouse apartment  at Marina Residence in Dubai is for sale with an asking price of Dh15.7 million. (Courtesy Better Homes / April 2014)

In pictures: Palm Jumeirah penthouse listed for Dh15.7 million

A four-bedroom duplex penthouse in Marina Residence 3 on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah is on the market for Dh15.7 million.

 Room with a view from one of the 21 duplex penthouses located in the Gate Towers sky-bridge. The sports courts and swimming pools can be seen below. Courtesy Alda

In pictures: Aldar’s Gate Towers Penthouse Collection on Reem Island

Aldar launched its Gate Towers Penthouse Collection at Cityscape Abu Dhabi. The launch features 21 penthouses spanning the skybridge, with each having a private indoor pool and incredible views.

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National