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Big mission hits Middle East

FEDERAL Minister for Trade Mark Vaile has returned after leading over forty senior business people to the Middle East on one of Australia’s largest ministerial trade missions.

Mr Vaile and the delegation, which included five WA businesses, the WA Department of Commerce and Trade and the WA Mid West Development Commission, were joined by a further twenty Australian company representatives who reside in the region.

The ten day mission took in high-potential export ‘hot spots’ Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Vaile said the mission was not only an opportunity to address traditional, commodities-based industries, it also assisted in the development of niche markets and new export areas for Australian companies, including the burgeoning services sector.

“Business is booming in the Middle East in a variety of industries, as reflected in the broad range of industry sectors represented on the delegation including agribusiness, education, health and engineering,” he said.

Mr Vaile said he and the delegation participated in a series of high-level trade talks with government leaders and key business representatives.

These talks focussed on promoting, establishing and reinforcing trade links between Australia and the Gulf region.

“Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE are important and growing markets for Australia. The trade figures speak for themselves: in the period 1994-95 to 1998-99, bilateral trade between Australia and these three countries increased 36 per cent to A$2.95 billion.”

Mr Vaile said Australia’s trade relationship with these countries was increasingly diverse with Australia’s exports now including food products, bulk items and a variety of manufactures.

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