The value of Australian meat product exports alone to the Gulf States is expected to grow at an annualised 17.7 per cent over the five years from 2016-17, reaching over $1 billion.
According to IBIS World, Australia’s largest provider of industry-based research, said liberalised trade laws in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have helped the country become a hub for re-exports to the rest of the region, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
IBIS World noted the Middle Eastern Gulf states have grown in size and affluence making them reliant on imports to meet demand due to the dry, arid climate across the continent.
In the UAE rapidly changing population and demographics including climbing birth rates and increased expatriate numbers have doubled the local population in the past decade
“The value of Australian fresh, dried and frozen vegetable and fruit exports to the UAE is expected to rise at an annualised 15.2% over the five years to 2016-17. In May 2017, the UAE and Australia announced that non-tariff barriers would ease for chilled beef and lamb exports, extending the maximum allowable shelf life of these products. This will likely reduce transport costs associated with exporting premium chilled meat to these markets, benefiting local exporters,” the analysis organisation said.
Meat product exports to Saudi Arabia are also expected to grow over the same period.
“Beef exports have largely driven this growth, with sheep meat products also contributing to a lesser degree. Similarly, the value of grain exports to Bahrain, largely driven by wheat, is expected to skyrocket over the five years through 2016-17,” the company said.
“Meat, vegetables and fruit exports have increased most consistently across the Gulf States. However, competition to access these growing markets is strong among other agricultural export regions, such as the European Union, the United States and China.”
IBIS World said nevertheless, local exporters who can access this growing market stand to benefit from rising demand.
“Agricultural exports to other countries and regions have also grown over the past five years, particularly to the United States and East Asian countries. However, these markets are already larger and more established export destinations for Australia’s agriculture industries. Additionally, concerns surrounding protectionist sentiment in the United States following its exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement could hamper future demand growth,” the group warned.
“Australia’s relative lack of market penetration in the emerging Gulf States presents an opportunity for greater export growth over the next five years. But the current political difficulties in the region, with Saudi Arabia and UAE suspending trade with Qatar, could limit the ability of domestic exporters to expand in Qatar. This is particularly relevant as the UAE is a hub for re-exports to Gulf States.”