Video interview: Australian minister courts Gulf investment

Andrew Robb, the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, is in the region to promote bilateral trade ties

Published: Updated:

Gulf states are “on the cusp” of a rapidly improving investment relationship with Australia, Andrew Robb, the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, said in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel on Sunday.

Robb, who is in the Middle East to promote bilateral trade and investment between Australia and Gulf states, said that his country was eager to resume negotiations with MENA region countries over a stalled free trade agreement.

“The free trade agreement could be finished quickly, because we were at an advanced stage when it stopped, and it would have an immediate impact on the investment opportunities that are there for the Gulf states to capitalize on,” said Robb.

Big deal

Australia is also hoping for Gulf sovereign wealth funds investment into Australia’s infrastructure development to plug a A$700 billion deficit, among other buying opportunities.

“Australia has literally got a trillion dollars’ worth of investment required in the coming 10-20 years,” he said.

Also on Sunday, Robb told Al Arabiya News in a separate interview the $6.4 billion trade between Australia and the UAE is set to grow at double the rate of the last ten years, with stronger aviation links between the two countries marking “game-changer” for trade.

As Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas - which struck an alliance with Emirates last year - looks to revive to its failing fortunes, Robb said that he would personally raise the issue of a possible stake sale during a planned high-level meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates.