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Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 | 19:10 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 | 19:10 | SYDNEY

Australia\'s ties with the Middle East



7 March 2011 11:01

I can't let Andrew Carr's comment that 'Australia's trade relationship with the Middle East is negligible save for our wheat industry' pass without comment.  

Even a cursory view of the DFAT website reveals some issues about bilateral trade relations with the region at odds with his observation. I would argue that the Australian car industry would think that the nearly $1.5 billion of vehicles that they exported to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 2009-10 would hardly count as negligible. Indeed, vehicle exports to the GCC countries are our top export commodity in four of the six GCC countries and the second in the other two.  

Wheat, by contrast, is our top export earner only in Iraq, Egypt and Yemen, to the tune of less than $500 million. And while over $6 billion worth of commodity exports is minor compared to East Asia, it is a nice little earner nonetheless. Andrew also left out the issue of services exports, which, while accounting for nearly 20% of entire Australian exports, is not accounted for in the figures for the Middle East, so his view of 'negligible' may need further revising.

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