Visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia
This week I am visiting the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Australia's two largest trade and investment partners in the Middle East.
In Saudi Arabia, a fellow G20 economy, I will be accompanied by a business delegation representing the resources, financial services and defence export sectors.
The visit will focus on expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation, highlighting Australia's expertise in the education, tourism and financial services sector and encouraging further investment in Australia. Creating more export opportunities for Australian businesses will help create more Australian jobs and drive economic growth.
During the visit I will advocate for the resumption of negotiations toward a high-quality Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the Gulf Cooperation Council, comprising the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
The UAE is our largest trading partner in the region. More than 25,000 Australians reside in the UAE and 350 Australian companies have a presence there. Two-way trade in goods and services with the UAE was $8 billion in 2015-16, with significant potential for growth.
Two-way trade with Saudi Arabia was $3 billion in 2015-16. Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 provides another significant opportunity for Australian business and expertise to participate in the Saudi economy, further developing our economic relationship.