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Australia seeks to boost economic ties with Saudi Arabia, says envoy

June 05, 2023 00:00:00

Eyeing economic opportunities in Saudi Arabia and providing a platform for Australian companies to explore and deepen trade ties with the Kingdom, Trademark Group of Companies opened its office in Riyadh on Saturday, reports Arab News.

Trademark Group of Companies is dedicated to helping Australian businesses to expand into Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region, and vice versa.

Talking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Australian Saudi Business Networking Event in the Kingdom's capital, Australian Ambassador Mark Donovan said the opening of the office will help both countries explore investment opportunities in various sectors including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.

It was the second Australian Saudi Business Networking Event hosted this year, and it witnessed CEOs and decision-makers from 22 companies exploring potential opportunities in the Kingdom.

"I think having the Trademark office here is going to be a big boost to bringing business delegations. In February, Trademark brought the largest Australian business delegation to visit the Kingdom. So, if we keep up the pace of those business delegations, then the commercial opportunities are going to grow and deals will be done," the top diplomat said.

Trademark Group is a group of businesses within the construction, development and industrial manufacturing sector in Australia.

It is a community of businesses that come together and share investment opportunities, ideas and create relationships.

It serves as a platform that explores growth opportunities in different parts of the world.

Earlier in January, the first delegation from Australia comprising 51 companies visited the Kingdom, while another delegation is scheduled to visit the Kingdom by the end of this month.

The Australian envoy is optimistic about boosting trade and investment ties with Saudi Arabia in various sectors. "I think there's a lot of areas where Australia can lend expertise and form partnerships with Saudi Arabia. Our strengths at the moment are in the education sector, the health sector, engineering, and other areas where I would like to see that expand, are construction, manufacturing, and industrial sectors."

He admitted that agricultural trade between the two countries has always been strong. "The agricultural commodities trade between Australia and Saudi Arabia is very strong. Fertilizer goes to Australia and agricultural commodities come back (to the Kingdom). And on the back of that, I think we can probably also look at agricultural technical expertise," said Donovan.

Donovan said the opening of free economic zones will elevate Australian exports to the Kingdom as the "commercial opportunities (created) through those free zones will be too good to turn down."

The envoy said that the changing business environment in the Kingdom is expected to attract more investments from Australia.

Earlier speaking at the networking event, Donovan said the Kingdom's Vision 2030 has made it an ideal destination to do business.

"Australia is ideally placed to partner in this. We have more similarities with Saudi Arabia than we realize. We are, of course, fellow G20 economies. We both recently announced ambitious targets for greening our economies and mitigating the effects and the impact of climate change to which we are both more vulnerable than most," the ambassador added.

Sam Jamsheedi, founder and chairman of Trademark Group of Companies, told Arab News that the launch of an office in Riyadh will help Australian companies soft land in Saudi Arabia.

"The ecosystem is the most important part. So, the way we deal with the (Australian) delegation, we try to expose them to government sectors first, and after understanding how the ecosystem works, we try to expose them to businesses," said Jamsheedi.

According to Jamsheedi, some of the sectors that could make use of Australian talents in the Kingdom are construction, architecture, and engineering, especially considering the fact that Saudi Arabia is developing large infrastructure projects like NEOM.

Jamsheedi pointed out that most of the Australians currently residing in Saudi Arabia are working on big projects like NEOM and the Red Sea.

The official called on Saudi companies to explore investment opportunities in Australia as it is one of the booming and safest economies of the world.

Lauding the growth of Saudi Arabia, Todd Miller, trade and investment commissioner at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, said that Riyadh is a budding site for businesses.

Miller said the office of the Trademark Group of Companies will help Australian firms adapt themselves to the Saudi market.

Earlier in April, a report released by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission noted that Saudi Arabia's mining sector offers huge investment opportunities for Australian companies dealing with equipment, technology, and other related services.

It noted that more opportunities will emerge in the digital sector, quality and safety solutions, environmental services, and mine safety equipment and services over the coming years.

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic relationship with Australia dates back to 1974 when the Australian Embassy was opened in Riyadh.

The two countries signed an agreement to strengthen mutual economic and technical relations in Riyadh on March 22, 1980, followed by the opening of the first Saudi Embassy in Canberra in 1983.

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