Today I co-chaired the first meeting of the Australia-United Arab Emirates Joint Economic Committee with His Excellency, Mr Sultan Al-Mansouri, UAE Minister for the Economy.

This new committee provides a practical mechanism for advancing our already dynamic trade relationship with the UAE, our largest trade and investment partner in the Middle East.

Our first meeting agreed to an ambitious agenda to improve commercial ties. We discussed opportunities for closer engagement in key sectors including investment, education, agriculture, aviation and tourism.

As we work towards a wider Free Trade Agreement with the Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the UAE forms a part, the Joint Economic Committee provides a platform to advance access for goods and services beyond the border.

Two-way trade between Australia and the UAE was worth around $8 billion in 2016 and the UAE is an important source of inward investment to Australia.

About 350 Australian companies are based in the UAE and almost 25,000 Australians live there. Many Australians use the UAE as a gateway for travel to the Middle East and beyond and Australian businesses benefit from the UAE’s role as a regional logistics hub.

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