Expanding trade and investment with the United Arab Emirates

  • Media release

Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will pursue a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to grow the trade relationship between both countries, creating new jobs and opportunities for exporters.

A trade deal with the UAE would be a first for Australia in the Middle East. The CEPA, a bilateral free trade agreement, has significant potential to strengthen and deepen the dynamic relationship between the two countries.

In 2020, two-way trade between Australia and the UAE was worth $6.8 billion and two-way investment was $16 billion.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the UAE was Australia’s largest trade and investment partner in the Middle East.

“The UAE is Australia’s gateway to the Middle East and presents an opportunity for greater trade diversification,” Mr Tehan said.

“Australia has more than 300 key businesses operating in the UAE, including in building, construction, financial services, agricultural supplies and training services and a CEPA would create more opportunities for Australian businesses and workers.”

“A UAE CEPA would also be an important building block to a subsequent potential free trade agreement with the wider Gulf Cooperation Council.”

Both countries have agreed to undertake preparatory discussions and domestic consultations as soon as possible, with a view to commencing formal trade negotiations in the near future.

The Australian Government is seeking stakeholder submissions on the particular opportunities and benefits for Australian businesses of a CEPA with the UAE. Further information is available at https://www.dfat.gov.au/uaecepa

The Australian Government will also be seeking stakeholder submissions to help inform a potential future resumption of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the GCC.

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