The Middle East is a diverse region, but Australian exports are heavily concentrated in the oil exporting Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia constituted almost 60% of Australia’s exports to the region in 2015.
Despite the increasingly challenging economic outlook, the GCC remains a lucrative food export market.
90% of the Gulf’s food demands are met with imports. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects GCC food imports to reach US$53b by 2020.
New markets are arising – notably Iran.
The historic accord to lift selected sanctions on Iran reconnected the US$390b Iranian economy to the world. The country benefits from a large middle class consumer base, a highly skilled labour force, strong domestic industrial base and relatively diversified economy.