The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

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Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
Thursday, 14 June 2001

Australia welcomes Saudi tariff cuts

Trade Minister Mark Vaile has hailed Saudi Arabia's move to more than halve customs tariffs on imports of 5,500 items as a sign of major progress in international trade.

"Saudi Arabia has committed to WTO accession and economic reform, and Australia welcomes the move to slash tariffs from 12 to five per cent," Mr Vaile said.

"The tariff reductions will be of considerable benefit to a range of Australian industries, including motor vehicles and foodstuffs. Australia's exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 40 per cent to nearly $1.6 billion in 2000. 
"Passenger motor vehicles account for almost two thirds of our exports and about 20 per cent of the Saudi new vehicle market. Our food exports to Saudi Arabia are also strong, particularly following the resumption of live sheep exports last year.

"Reforms such as this can only increase the attractiveness of Saudi Arabia as an export and investment destination for Australia. My visit to Saudi Arabia in February last year demonstrated Australia's seriousness about expanding its trade relationship with Saudi Arabia, the largest economy and largest market in the Middle East.

"Australia strongly supports Saudi Arabia's WTO accession on appropriate terms and we were pleased to have been one of the first countries to conclude a deal on market access in March 2000. The tariff cuts will assist Saudi Arabia's bid to join the WTO. We are looking to Saudi Arabia to implement reforms in a range of other areas so that Saudi Arabia can enter the WTO at the earliest opportunity."


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