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Minister Crean to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC087 2 November 2008

MINISTER CREAN TO VISIT SAUDI ARABIA AND THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, will visit Saudi Arabia from 2 to 3 November and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 4 November.

This will be the first formal bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia by a Minister in the Rudd Government.

“The purpose of the visit is to meet with key Saudi Ministers to advance Australia’s trade, economic and investment interests with Saudi Arabia.

“It will also be an opportunity to outline clearly Australia’s interests in an Australia - Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Agreement, Mr Crean said.

Mr Crean will meet with the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Abdullah Alireza, the Minister for Finance, Dr Ibrahim Al-Assaf, and the Governor of the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Dr Amrou Al-Dabbah, during the visit.

Mr Crean will also call on His Royal Highness Prince Salman Al-Saud, the Governor of Riyadh.

“Our commercial linkages with Saudi Arabia are growing however there are many more opportunities to build on these foundations, particularly in education and health services, mining and infrastructure, said Mr Crean.

Mr Crean will also meet with Australian and Saudi business people engaged in the trade and investment relationship.

In Dubai, Mr Crean will meet with UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi, to discuss the Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Agreement and promote Australian trade opportunities with the UAE.

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Gulf. Two-way merchandise trade was worth $3.2 billion in 2007-08. Saudi is a major market for Australian passenger motor vehicles, dairy products and live sheep. Two-way merchandise trade with the UAE was worth over $5 billion in 2007-08. The UAE is a major market for gold, passenger motor vehicles and zinc.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, consisting of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is a major export market for Australia, worth $6.8 billion in 2007-08.