Australian-UAE Partnership: Growing with strength

Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoy a multi-faceted and rapidly growing relationship, one that is underpinned by extensive trade relations.

The UAE is Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way trade in goods and services worth more than $9.7bn in 2017-18. Services trade – including in construction, financial and professional services, tourism and education – is an increasingly important component of the commercial relationship. The UAE is a significant investor in Australia, including in the agribusiness, tourism, health and aged care and resources sectors.

Australia has a number of its world-class education institutions active in the UAE. In 1993, Wollongong University became the first private university to establish a campus in Dubai. Murdoch University opened in Dubai in 2007 and Curtin University opened a campus in 2017. A number of Australian higher education institutions have partnerships with local institutions to deliver Australian curriculum, including Edith Cowan University and Adelaide University.

Australia’s Commissioner General for Expo 2020, Justin McGowan, noted that Australian businesses and institutions were increasingly looking to the UAE for opportunities, with more than 360 UAE-based Australian companies currently established.

“Australian companies and institutions are working across a range of industries, including in steel trading, building, construction and financial services, banking services, agricultural supplies and services, marine manufacturing, education and training services, sports and recreation, health services, courier and freight services. Many companies are capitalising on Dubai’s transport, financial and communications infrastructure as a hub for doing business in the region more broadly,” Mr McGowan said.

“The increased business engagement is also strengthening our people-to-people links. Australia is a popular holiday destination for Emiratis. Hundreds of flights connect the UAE to Australia’s capital cities every week, helping to strengthen these links,” Mr McGowan said.

Mr McGowan noted that Australia’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai will provide an opportunity to further strengthen links between Australia and the UAE, alongside providing an opportunity showcase Australia to a global audience.

“With more than 190 countries and 25 million visitors expected to attend Expo 2020, we have a rare opportunity to share with the world Australia’s attractions and capabilities which are underpinned by world-class education, training and research institutions and our rich cultural diversity,” Mr McGowan said.