Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will visit the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between 13-16 April to promote commercial opportunities for Australia business in two of the region’s leading markets.

Mr Robb will participate in Austrade’s annual regional promotion Australia Unlimited Gulf, which will showcase Australian capabilities in education, agriculture and food, resource and water management, urban development, rail, sports and tourism.

“There is a strong fit between demand in the Gulf and Australia’s strengths. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are investing in infrastructure and restructuring their economies; creating opportunities in sectors where Australia has a proven track record,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb will meet with senior Ministers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to advocate for a resumption of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“I will use my visit to set out the Australian Government’s trade and investment agenda. To emphasis that Australia is open for business and that we are committed to deepening our economic engagement with region,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb will also meet with some of the region’s most important investment funds. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have large sovereign wealth funds with total assets of US$1.7 trillion and are looking to make new international investments into food security, agriculture and infrastructure projects.

In Riyadh, Mr Robb will meet with the more than 20 Australian Universities and education providers attending the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education and promote Australia as an education destination.

“Gulf countries face challenges in providing education and skills development for their growing and youthful populations. Australia offers world-class opportunities for international education, as well as education and training services delivered in-market,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb noted the growth in aviation links between Australia and the Gulf–with more than 140 flights a week - will deepen business links and facilitate growth in the number of tourists from the region.

Mr Robb will also open Council for Australian Arab Relations’ ‘Food Water Energy Nexus’ policy seminars in both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, which will bring together experts to discuss issues which are a challenge to Australia and the region.

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