The UAE currently imports food products worth Dh595 million ($162 million) from Western Australia annually, and is one of the top five countries importing sheep and lamb meat from the region.
Some of the major food categories imported by the UAE include canola worth Dh278 million; sheep worth Dh63 million; lamb worth Dh60 million; and carrots worth Dh47 million. A delegation led by Ken Baston, minister for agriculture and food; fisheries, Western Australia, visited the UAE to further expand the trade between the two countries. "Food security is important issue for the Middle East, as they import more than 90 per cent of their total food requirements. We are here in the UAE to understand the country's immediate requirement within the food sector and also provide them with all the necessary information and support from Western Australia. We have had a very fruitful relationship for several years and we are here to nurture it further," Baston said.
Supporting established industry relationships and to further explore growth opportunities, the minister and delegates met with the director of the food safety department of Dubai Municipality, Khalid Mohammed Sharif Al Awadhias, as well as prominent UAE companies in the food business. The delegation is also visiting Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt during their Middle Eastern tour.
"The Middle East accounts for over 97 per cent of Western Australia's live sheep exports in 2013-14. The top destinations in order of value were Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and UAE. The four markets have collectively been worth $2 billion to the Western Australian agrifood industry over the past five years. Qatar presents significant opportunities in terms of strengthening investment ties. Egypt is a potentially valuable market for Western Australia's grains and meat," said Pankaj Savara, commissioner, Wato.
"Western Australia is the powerhouse that drives Australia's economy, accounting for 46 per cent share of total Australian exports. The UAE is also one of Western Australia's biggest trading partners for mineral and agriculture commodities. With established business relations and growing bilateral ties, the State is fast increasing its presence in the UAE and in the Middle East and Africa," added Mr. Savara.
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