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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1082

Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (13:39):    On 5 February I hosted an Australia-Middle East Trade Forum with the Minister for Trade. It was good to have the minister in Banks to discuss the government's plans to strengthen trade relations between Australia and the Middle East. The forum was held at Club Rivers in Riverwood and gave a group of local business leaders the opportunity to meet with the minister and discuss important issues surrounding trade.

Members of the Australian Arab Business Council attended and distributed a very useful summary on the relative sizes of Australia's trading relationships in the Middle East. Minister Robb discussed the opportunities to expand Australia's commercial relationships in the Middle East, particularly in the context of the current Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into this matter. The forum was very useful. I look forward to working with members of the local community to advance trade with the Middle East.

I would particularly like to thank: Hassan Moussa, President of the Australian Arab Business Council; the numerous other members of the council who attended the function; Michael Rizk, Head of Trade Relations, Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce; and Adam Malouf from Austrak Capital, who presented an insightful analysis of Middle East trade opportunities at the forum. I would also like to thank the Consul General of Egypt, His Excellency Yussef Hassar, for attending this event and providing his perspective on the commercial relationship between our two nations.