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Saudi Arabia Joint Ministerial Commission

Release Date

19 April 2013

The ninth meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was held in Canberra on 22 March 2013. The Commission was co-chaired by the Australian Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Dr Craig Emerson and the Saudi Minister for Agriculture, His Excellency
Dr Fahd Abdurahman Balghunaim.
Dr Emerson and Dr Balghunaim welcomed the friendly relations between Australia and Saudi Arabia, underpinned by substantial and long-standing economic relations. The JMC meeting, the first held since 2006, presented an important opportunity for discussions on re-invigorating and expanding trade, investment and commercial ties, including in agriculture, manufactures, education, energy and resources.
Ministers highlighted the importance of the private sector to expansion of the economic relationship. They welcomed the signing at the JMC meeting of a Memorandum of Understanding between  the Australia-Saudi Business Council and the Council of Saudi Chambers establishing the
Saudi-Australia Joint Business Council. Ministers noted also the opportunity presented by the JMC for business-to-business engagement.
The JMC meeting discussed ways to reinvigorate the trade relationship, noting the decline in some industries since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Australia welcomed the 36 per cent increase in Australian vehicle (mainly passenger vehicle) exports to Saudi Arabia in 2012, reversing a decline since 2008. Australia highlighted the status of Saudi Arabia as Australia’s largest vehicle market globally [$775 million in CY2012].
Australia welcomed the Saudi interest in investing in Australia and discussed the scope for expanding Saudi investment in resources, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and agri-business.
The Saudi side highlighted the investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia for Australian business, including in infrastructure, energy and mining.
Both sides agreed on the value of seminars and exchanges to showcase trade and investment opportunities. Australia registered with Saudi Arabia, a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, its strong interest in an early resumption of Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council FTA negotiations, noting that an FTA would further boost the bilateral commercial relationship, including investment. Saudi Arabia raised its interest in a Double Taxation Agreement.
Both sides noted the prospects for expanding trade in services. In addition to education, industries highlighted were construction, transport, health, banking and IT-enabled services.
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