Media Release

5 March 2009

Doing business with the Arab world

The Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) and the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) are pleased to announce the release this week of six business reports designed to help Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) do business with the Arab world. The reports focus on the six countries making up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Glen Simpson, CAAR Chairman, said: “The new guides are a timely and valuable resource, with the latest round of negotiations last week on a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the GCC. Australia has positive and long-standing relations with the GCC, and its markets offer many opportunities for SMEs”.

AACCI Chairman Ray Najar encouraged Australian businesses to use the reports to familiarise themselves with the GCC and the opportunities there. “The guides provide practical business advice on building durable business relationships with the countries of the GCC,” he said.

The GCC represents a major market grouping for Australian exports, accounting for $6.8 billion in merchandise exports in 2007-08. Services exports also make up an increasingly important part of the trade relationship, particularly in the areas of education, IT, legal services, water treatment, engineering, design and construction.

CAAR is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was established by the Australian Government in January 2003 to strengthen Australian-Arab relations. Founded in 1975, AACCI is the peak body representing Australian private enterprise with commercial interest in markets of the Arab League countries and, as such, enjoys the support of the Australian Government.

The reports can be accessed on-line on the Council for Australian-Arab Relations website at www.dfat.gov.au/caar and on the website of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry at www.austarab.com.au/.

Media Enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison - 02 6261 1555, Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry – 03 9324 0362