Impact of new China decrees on imported food and food establishments

Impact of new China decrees on imported food and food establishments

To advise exporters and processing establishments of new Chinese requirements for imported food and overseas food establishments that will take effect from 1 January 2022.

Summary of key points

These requirements require all overseas manufacturers of imported food to be registered with the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC). The requirements capture a broad range of food products, including low risk foods, and are notified in Decree 248 – Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food and Decree 249 – Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety.

These regulations require all food manufacturers, processors and storage facilities which handle food exported to China to be registered with GACC in one of two ways:

  1. Registration through the competent authority (in Australia, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment) which will first require assessment and approval (new foods now requiring registration of food businesses are italicised)

This requirement is now applicable for meat and meat products, casings, aquatic products, dairy products, edible bird’s nest and bird’s nest products, bee products, eggs and egg products, edible fats and oils, stuffed wheaten food, edible grains, milled grain industry products and malt, fresh and dehydrated vegetables and dry beans, condiments and seasonings, nuts and seeds, dry fruits, unroasted coffee beans and cocoa beans, food for special dietary uses, and health food*.

*Health food refers to food that claim to have specific health functions or aims to supplement vitamins and minerals.

  1. Self-registration with GACC directly or via an agent or importer

This requirement is applicable for all foods other than those listed above.

Labelling changes

The decrees also notify changes to labelling requirements. Key changes include, foods must be labelled in Chinese, or Chinese and English (Decree 249, Article 30) and a GACC issued registration number or the registration number approved by the competent authority of the exporting country must be displayed (Decree 248, Article 15) on both the inner and outer packaging.

The department is seeking implementation guidance from China and is working on processes for implementation. Additional guidance will be provided for exporters when it is available.

To assist this effort, please provide questions or comments on the decrees to your industry body for forwarding to the department.

Exporters are also encouraged to work closely with their importers to continue to ensure compliance with China’s requirements.

Further advice will be issued as additional information becomes available.

You can download the Market Access Advices below:

If you would like to be kept informed, email the department at  to indicate your desire to receive further information.

Blueprint for Trade and Investment with Indonesia

Blueprint for Trade and Investment with Indonesia

Australian business should take a fresh look at Indonesia, the powerhouse nation on our doorstep and soon to be among the largest economies in the world. With a strong middle class – 52 million and growing – forecasters predict Indonesia’s swift post-COVID recovery, a testament to Indonesia’s resilient growth and commitment to reform.

In 2020, the “Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA)” entered into force which gives Australian businesses major advantages in the Indonesian market. For example:

  • more than 99 per cent of Australian goods exports by value will enter duty free or under liberalised rules
  • Australian investors will benefit from greater certainty and protection for their investments in Indonesia
  • the agreement removes barriers to two-way trade, increases bilateral movement of workers and facilitates joint ventures in third countries.

To assist Australian companies take advantage of the Agreement and deepen their engagement with Indonesia, the Australian government has produced a “Blueprint for Trade and Investment with Indonesia”.

The Blueprint provides practical and strategic guidance for Australian businesses considering market opportunities in the Indonesian economy for the first time. It also helps Australian business take advantage of complementarities between the two economies – Australia has the goods, expertise and know-how which align with Indonesia’s major economic priorities.

Sectors highlighted in the Blueprint include health and aged care, agriculture and food, education and training and resources and energy services. The Blueprint also highlights opportunities for Australian companies to establish partnerships in Indonesia, including in Indonesia’s dynamic services sector, and to diversify their markets and supply chains.

The Blueprint will assist both Australia and Indonesia to get the maximum benefit out of IA-ECPA as we look towards economic recovery following the pandemic.

This story is an original publication of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Export opportunities in South Africa for Australian businesses

South Africa’s rich endowment of gold, minerals, and base metals has long presented opportunities for competitive miners and mine engineering and technical service (METS) providers. Today ASX-listed companies are the largest foreign investors in South Africa’s mining sector. Australian companies are also the largest presence at South Africa’s annual “Investing in African Mining Indaba”. While Mining Indaba is normally held in Cape Town in February each year it was conducted “virtually’ in 2021 and attracted major and junior miners from Australia and around the world. Participants heard President Cyril Ramaphosa speak about plans to strengthen South Africa’s investment environment and create new business opportunities in mining and related sectors, such as energy, renewable energy, and the hydrogen economy.

But South Africa is not just about mining. South Africa is the most advanced, broad-based economy on the African continent. Today, services account for over 60 per cent of South Africa’s GDP while manufacturing accounts for a further 14 per cent. South Africa offers traders and investors a sophisticated industrial profile, a mature financial sector and highly developed transport and communications infrastructure.

Australian businesspeople are very active in South Africa. Australia is the seventh largest foreign country investor and Australian investment here increased 17 per cent to A$5.9 billion in 2019. Australian investment flows into South Africa are on par with our investment into Mexico, and exceed our investments in Chile, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.

Strong bilateral investment flows between Australia and South Africa support significant volumes of trade in goods and services. South Africa is a top 30 trading country for Australia, and our largest trading partner in Africa. Two-way trade in goods and services in 2019 was worth almost $4bn. The trade relationship is fairly balanced, with Australia exporting aluminium and coal, and importing passenger motor vehicles. Australia’s trade with South Africa makes up around one per cent of South Africa’s total trade volumes.

Growth in trade and business opportunities between the two countries is supported by the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, the Australian Business Chamber of Commerce for Southern Africa (ABCSA), based in Johannesburg, the Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce (AACC), based in Melbourne, and Austrade, with three Business Development Managers and a Trade Commissioner based in Johannesburg. On 11 May, both business chambers, supported by the Australian High Commission and Austrade, sponsored a webinar which looked closely at South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policies and the investment environment. Speakers included B-BBEE Commissioner Zodwa Ntuli and Invest South Africa Head Yunus Hoosen. The webinar provided Australian investors and traders with valuable insights into the business environment in South Africa and is available on the internet here.

A recent report authored by professional services firm, PwC, ’10 insights into 4IR’ on mining in South Africa says there is increasing demand for digital technologies in mining in South Africa, as part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Challenges encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated demand for innovation and automation in mining in South Africa. This includes demand for technologies that will help companies to increase efficiency, manage risk, improve health and safety and reduce maintenance costs.

There is also an opportunity for Australian Education providers to potentially work with Australian and other mining and METS companies. According to mining executives spoken to by Austrade, upskilling South Africa’s workforce is as big a challenge in the South African mining sector as technology adoption increases – opening up opportunities for Australian education providers that can specialise in increasing the skills and technical proficiencies of the South African mining work force.

South Africa has promoted itself as a base for foreign companies to set up Global Business Services and Australian companies have benefited considerably. Australian companies now make up 20 per cent of the market and have identified opportunities in the professional services, finance, e-commerce and communications sectors.

While Australia and South Africa are perceived as natural competitors in the agriculture sector, there are opportunities for research and development collaboration in agri-processing and agricultural services and technologies. There is strong interest in leading edge Australian research into the propagation of commercial crops such as macadamias and avocadoes.

Under its 2019 Integrated Resources Plan South Africa is looking to diversify its energy mix, including by increasing supplies of renewables, solar, wind, nuclear, gas, hydropower and cleaner coal. As a major source of platinum group metals, South Africa has developed a hydrogen strategy and plans to build a hydrogen fuelled transport corridor in the Northern Cape to take advantage of battery storage and related technologies. Australian commercialisation ready hydrogen supply chain technologies – such as innovative hydrogen storage and transport solutions, are likely to be attractive in market as this new industry emerges.

There will be research and investment opportunities as Australia and South Africa jointly host the Square Kilometre Array. This includes potential promotions at the annual Science Expo and the World Science Forum which will be held in Cape Town in December this year.

South Africa presents opportunities for Australian retail business exporters and innovative digital healthcare service and product providers. Innovative Australian companies able to offer digital healthcare solutions remotely will be attractive in market, according to a recent health care roundtable with the South African Medical Technology Industry Association (SAMED).

South Africa’s population is young with a medium age of 27.6 years. About 44.7% of the population is under 25 years with more women (50.5%) than men. According to a 2019 Next Gen survey targeting young consumers, despite most household spending resting with parents and older consumers, direct and indirect youth expenditure was calculated to be approximately $AUS12 billion annually in 2019. South Africa has approximately 18 million female consumers – often the primary purchasing decision maker within a household. They are discerning consumers of skincare, sanitary protection and shampoo and hair products and Australian companies that export consumer goods directed at women may benefit from their increased purchasing power and the population boom.

South Africa has also seen growth in the eCommerce industry which is the 37th largest market for eCommerce with sales of $AU5.2 billion in 2020. The growth in South Africa’s eCommerce market may provide opportunities for Australian companies looking at using eCommerce platforms in South Africa for retail connections to consumers or associated technologies in service delivery, such as ‘last mile’ logistics systems. The ecommerce market is projected to generate just over $AU 6 billion in sales in 2021 in South Africa.

South Africa is Australia’s gateway to Africa. It is the core member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which enables duty free access between member countries. In addition, from 1 January this year, trading started under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and will continue to enhance South Africa’s status as the preferred launching pad for business operations into Africa.

During his State of the Nation address, delivered in February, President Ramaphosa sought to shift South Africa toward a more growth-oriented posture while still focusing on measures to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While South Africa faces significant economic and social challenges it is driven forward by a young, educated and diverse population. It has deep people-to-people links with Australia and it offers good business opportunities to exporters who can bring unique and competitive goods and services to the market.

Australian High Commission, South Africa

Middle-East and Africa Regional Insights

The Middle-East and Africa region comprises two distinct sub regions – Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Sub Saharan Africa. Pre-pandemic, the World Bank and IMF had predicted 3-4% economic growth in the sub regions in 2019-2021. But with the onset of COVID, only certain economies in MENA are expected to rebound this year compared to the rest of the region, due to benefits from higher crude prices, reduction of OPEC+ cuts, and vaccine rollout.

Normalization of political and economic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was looked to bring about stabilization in the Arab world. However, continuing geopolitical tensions, weakening fiscal outlooks, and uncertainty around the pandemic are presenting trade challenges across the MEA region.

Austrade has presence in the following key markets through offices and trade representatives that support the wider region in identifying significant opportunities for Australian businesses across priority sectors:

  • MENA: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and soon to open an office in Qatar
  • Sub-Sahara: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya
  • Other: Pakistan

Australia’s highest ranking partners in terms of total merchandise exports are the UAE (#17), South Africa (#25) and Saudi Arabia (#26).
Austrade, along with a widespread Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) network, and state governments, works closely with allies and partners, such as the Australian industry associations, business councils, and chambers of commerce and industry, to provide robust support to Australian businesses coming to the market.

Regional focus lies in maintaining and growing market share in strategic sectors of food and agribusinesseducationmining and resourcesdefence and spacehealthcareinfrastructure, and digital technologies.

Leading the way

Australia is seen as a source for premium, whole and organic food with product traceability and clean label ingredients.

Australia’s agriculture and food exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations were over AUD$2.8 billion in 2020. UAE, and Saudi Arabia ranked in the top 20 trading partners in this category, and ranked in the top five international markets for Australian fresh vegetables in 2020.

Australia’s third largest sheep meat destination is the UAE, and it has been a key supplier to the Middle East and North Africa region for over 50 years. As of recently, Australian Wagyu found a new market in Kenya after demand for premium Australian meat increased following a series of food roadshows organised by Austrade in 2017 and 2018.

Opportunity in diversity
MEA markets are the fifth largest regional group with 49,189 student enrolments in 2020 (covering North Africa, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan). This is around 5-6% of total international student enrolments.

There is considerable diversity across the region, and with Covid-19, new and emerging trends are focused on innovation and digital agenda to drive economic growth. Additionally, a significantly young population is seeking quality education engagement.

Australia has a strong transnational footprint with higher education and TAFE providers active in MEA markets (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Mauritius). These educational institutions are not only targeting students from the broader MEA region, but have also appealed to learners from the Indian sub-continent, looking to study closer to home.

The pandemic has been a ‘reset’ for education across MEA. Digital and new ways of learning are here to stay in different formats providing opportunities for Australian EdTech sector.

Significant footprint in Africa
According to Global Data, Africa has over 132 ASX-listed mining companies, operating 458 mines across 34 countries on the continent. At the start of 2020, there were up to 170 Australian METS companies in operation; with a larger proportion of them operating across the southern and western part of the continent.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia plans to spend more than USD $7.4 billion exploring for metals and minerals by 2035. This is part of a USD $426 billion infrastructure spending plan that seeks to exploit what could be USD $1.3 trillion in resources.
Also, large untapped resource potential in Turkey exists with 50 different minerals and metals in economically viable quantities (the largest gold producer in Europe). At least 40% of Turkey’s prospective area is not yet explored.

Untapped market potential
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) healthcare market is set to cross USD $30 billion in 2021.

Healthcare is one of the most important service sectors in the UAE. In 2019, total healthcare expenditure in UAE totalled USD $1.3 billion (comprised 7% of federal budget). And building a new healthcare infrastructure and digitisation of services are a priority for Saudi Arabia under the Saudi 2030 Vision.

Australian healthcare providers active in the region include Aspen, Cochlear, TAHPI, and Synapse.
The other key sectors such as, defence and space, infrastructure, and digital technologies, are seeing significant opportunities mainly in UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (Space), and Kenya (digital technologies).

In terms of investment, the Gulf States have 4 of the 10 largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in the world. Of the six GCC countries, the highest total foreign investment in Australia was by Kuwait at AUD $13.3 billion, followed by the UAE at AUD $12 billion in 2019.
Complementing DFAT’s efforts at Expo 2020 Dubai, Austrade will support the Australian Pavilion activities by scheduling programs around major commercial exhibitions that are taking place in the region, such as Gulfood, Arab Health, Big 5, Mining Indaba, etc.
The pandemic has shown exporters the importance of diversifying and looking beyond traditional trade markets, and the MEA region even though a bit challenging, offers plenty of scope for Australian companies to expand their international presence.

We are keen to support you in-market, and provide further insights if you are looking at doing business in the region.

Connect with us at

Nigeria: opportunities in Africa’s cultural hub, a services giant ready to engage

A market of 200 million people, Nigeria has the largest population and economy in Africa and is projected to grow to 264 million by 2030, becoming the third most populous country in the world by 2050. It is also blessed with abundant natural resources, significant oil and gas wealth, and a very young population with a median age of 18.

  • A middle class (around 25 per cent of the population) means a market of 50 million people with substantial spending power. With this consumer spending power forecast to grow at six per cent per annum this decade, Nigeria presents immediate opportunities for Australian exporters of consumer goods, particularly food and beverage and healthcare products. Several medium to large Australian companies have begun exploring this market over the past year.
  • The commercial capital of Lagos has the third highest level of consumer spending of any city on the African continent (US$34.7 billion in 2020), behind only Cairo and Johannesburg. It is far and away the largest consumer market in West Africa, with Nigeria’s political capital Abuja (US$9.2 billion in 2020) in second place in the West African region and also top 10 on the continent.

Nigeria’s reputation as a difficult place to do business has discouraged the exploration of trade and investment opportunities, and it is true that there are real challenges for exporters. But Nigeria’s cultural exports are starting to change general perceptions of the country and for companies willing to make the effort and take some risks, the rewards are significant.

A growing tech sector and creative ecosystem
With proud traditions in literature and music, Nigeria has long been recognised as a cultural hub in Africa. And a dynamic and entrepreneurial youth are gradually changing Nigeria’s image by making international waves in fashion, film, music, gaming and tech – and monetising these digital opportunities. The Australian tech ecosystem could do well to engage and we are happy to assist our startups and tech hubs making contact with their Nigerian counterparts.

  • One of the most positive business stories coming out of Nigeria is its burgeoning IT sector. The industry has strong regulatory support. The Nigerian government has sought to rebuild digital trade from the ground up, with Africa-leading data privacy provisions. A new generation of local entrepreneurs is seeking to grow the sector with international support.
  • Fintech start-ups have attracted investment dollars and there have been some notable successes, such as Flutterwave and Paystack. With a young population accustomed to smartphones and mobile payments, and more than 60 million people without a bank account, there are substantial growth opportunities in this sector.
  • Payment solutions currently dominate the Nigerian fintech ecosystem of more than 200 companies, but there are increasing opportunities in consumer lending, insurance and asset management. Beyond Fintech, the Nigerian software market is estimated at over US$10 billion and enterprise software in fields ranging from health to cyber security is in demand.
  • Today, Nigerian fashion designers are gaining prominence internationally, many Nigerian musicians are topping charts in the UK and USA, and the country hosts the second most prolific film industry in the world, Nollywood, which is gaining a following globally despite its low production budgets. As with Bollywood, this is likely to change as the industry matures, presenting further opportunities for the Australian creative sector.

A thirst for knowledge

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing student recruitment markets in the world, with 90,000 Nigerians studying overseas before the pandemic. Nigerian student numbers to Australia have been on the rise, in a market dominated by the UK and USA. It will remain a high-growth market after the COVID recovery.

  • While our borders remain closed, Australian online offerings including our high-quality higher education and VET courses provide new opportunities beyond traditional student recruitment. Young Nigerians (and their parents) value education highly and have shown a large appetite for online learning and micro-credentialling courses.

Supporting infrastructure development and energy transition

Nigeria’s industrialisation has been a stop-start affair in recent decades with dynamic periods of high growth matched by slower spells. There is still an enormous amount of infrastructure required in energy, transportation and agricultural production as Nigeria develops.

  • The slow burn industrialisation and modernisation of the country presents ongoing niche opportunities for small and medium-sized Australian exporters, who have enjoyed export success in Nigeria with products as diverse as solar technology (off-grid power solutions are enjoying increasing interest), metal detectors, electrical transformers, and parts for oil refineries.
  • Australian innovation and experience could support Nigeria’s energy transition. Equipment for the oil and gas sector remains in demand, especially as Nigeria ramps up its transition to gas for its domestic energy needs.
  • There are opportunities in agtech and medtech too. In the agricultural sector, there is demand for food processing equipment, storage solutions, logistics and livestock and land-management expertise. Nigeria is seeking to expand agriculture, and modernise the sector, while deconflicting competing land-use claims by different community groups. There is also a substantial market for medical equipment and diagnostics.

A high potential mining and METS sector

Nigeria’s mining sector is largely undeveloped but has great potential. Ongoing geological mapping projects funded by the World Bank are delivering very encouraging data.

  • In the meantime, there is an existing market for small-scale mining equipment and there will be further opportunities in METS as the industry develops. In 2020, Nigeria opened its first gold refinery and the country’s first fire assay laboratory was established in 2021.
  • Australia’s METS companies can also play a positive role in organically introducing world-class METS standards and practices into West Africa, benefiting the region as well as Australian METS companies in the future.
  • Toronto-listed Thor Explorations is due to pour its first gold in June and is on track to become one of the first commercial-scale internationally operated mines in Nigeria. This could catalyse more juniors to join the Australian companies already on the ground here and working towards production.

Interested? Read more or contact us

Services export action plan
Nigeria market insights

Australian High Commission, Nigeria

United Arab Emirates – Looking beyond oil

The UAE is well known for its modern infrastructure, international events and status as a trade and transport hub. It’s political and economic stability, and fast-growing capital markets, contribute to its attractiveness as both a place to invest and to operate businesses with a regional focus. It has the most diversified economy in the Gulf, but Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the non-oil sectors of transport, tourism, hospitality, real estate and retail, on the back of a shock to the economy from the drop in global oil prices.

High levels of PCR testing have been key to the UAE’s Covid-19 management strategy and are closely tied to vaccination levels. In a population of 10 million people the UAE has now administered over 12 million vaccine doses and conducted more than 47 million tests.

The UAE’s long-term economic strategy is centred on diversification away from oil. This includes a focus on tourism, real estate, retail, financial services, the provision of high standard medical care, and reinforcing its already leading role as a global logistics hub for shipping and airlines.

The UAE is also focused on increasing its reputation as a regional hub and business-friendly country. Examples of recent initiatives include the new “golden visa” which encourages expatriates to stay in the country long-term, including into retirement, more favourable rules for ownership by foreign companies which means foreigners of any nationality for the first time can now own 100 per cent of their business in the country outside of free zones, and a new “remote work visa” that enables employees from all over the world to live and work remotely from the UAE, even if their companies are based in another country.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Dubai’s investment office ‘Dubai FDI’ are providing various support packages to foreign companies looking to establish or expand in the UAE.

The sectors that offered the best opportunities in recent times for Australian capabilities are agrifood, health, defence, education, and niche capabilities in infrastructure. There are opportunities for companies across all sectors that offer solutions that save money and create efficiencies, particularly around automation and digitisation. The UAE is increasingly examining, including artificial intelligence, for example to scan medical images, and data analytics that allow executives to see where money and resources are being spent, digitisation of records and reporting tools, and precision medicine (looking at genes and customising treatment to be more effective). These areas may also provide opportunities for Australian companies.

The UAE will host World Expo in Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022. The Australian pavilion will provide a platform to showcase Australian ingenuity and innovation, and an opportunity to pursue trade and investment opportunities via a targeted business program in sync with Expo 2020 Dubai themes for: Food&Agribusiness, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Resources&Mining, Advanced Manufacturing, Renewables&Energy, Digital Tech and Education. The UAE’s organising committee has recently announced a hybrid delivery of in-person and virtual events in order to reach a larger international audience.The focus of participating nations is now trade and investment opportunities as part of their COVID-19 economic recovery strategies. Australia will leverage this event to support market diversification strategies for Australian industry and exporters, by delivering ‘B2B’ and ‘B2G’ activities at major commercial exhibitions occurring around Expo 2020 Dubai.For more information in relation to Expo 2020 Dubai and opportunities to participate, please email:

Saudi Arabia: Vision and opportunity

Significant opportunity exists for Australian businesspeople in Saudi Arabia, as it undergoes extensive economic and social transformation under its “Vision 2030” diversification plan.

Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy away from oil, requires large injections of foreign investment, knowledge transfer and skilled professionals. Accordingly, the Saudi market holds an abundance of opportunity for Australian exporters, especially in the infrastructure, mining, agrifood and education sectors. Our two-way goods and services trade in 2019-20 was nearly AU$1.9 billion, with strong potential for future growth.

Economy and business environment

Despite global uncertainty related to Covid-19, the Saudi economy and business environment are expected to progressively improve in 2021. The IMF projects the Saudi economy will grow by 2.1 per cent in 2021.
Reforms to contract, business and labour laws, the banking system and the Saudi capital markets in recent years have made it much easier to do business. Saudi government agencies are focused on improving regulatory frameworks to encourage trade and investment. Incentive programs exist in key sectors, including for foreign companies who establish a regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia.
Perceptions about Saudi Arabia are often dated and misleading. Reforms have made Saudi Arabia more attractive to businesspeople. These include introducing visit and residency visas, relaxing dress codes, introducing an array of entertainment options, allowing gender-mixing at a number of tourist sites and in restaurants, and opening new sectors for female employment. Australian consultants – both male and female – are afforded the opportunity to do business at a senior level with significant responsibilities, and consider that experience in Saudi Arabia would be valuable in future careers.


Mining, Infrastructure and Professional Services
FDI in Saudi Arabia has continued on an upwards trend, with projects associated with Vision 2030 continuing apace despite the pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s leadership wants to invest the country’s oil wealth to develop the manufacturing industry, including down-stream oil and gas, renewable energies, automotives and downstream extractives processing. The leadership has announced an infrastructure investment pipeline valued at USD 1.2 trillion.

There is strong medium to long term potential for Australian services to play a role in the realisation of Vision 2030 projects to transform the Saudi economy in infrastructure, digital systems and resources. Australian companies are currently providing consultancy work in key positions on a number of the ‘Gigaprojects’ associated with Vision 2030 – including ‘smart city’ Neom, tourism developments Amaala and the Red Sea project, and entertainment zone Qiddiya. Australian companies are being solicited by Saudi Government agencies seeking digital technology capabilities for e-government and the finance sector. Although we already have a number of Australian experts and services companies supporting the extractive sectors with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), the industry is set to grow rapidly in the coming years with new projects and will offer new opportunities.

Australian food products, especially meat, dairy and vegetables, have built up a strong reputation in the Saudi market. As Saudi Arabia develops its hospitality sectors, Australian products including high quality beef and lamb, have gained a foothold in this premium market.
Most recently Australia has become the largest supplier of barley to Saudi Arabia – demonstrating the importance of Saudi Arabia as a diversification market for Australian commodity exporters.

Major Saudi sovereign wealth funds are increasing their international investments. Aramco is interested in gas investments in Australia, and SALIC has invested in Australian agricultural land and is exploring further investment options. Major sovereign wealth funds are also sharpening the focus on domestic investment to build capacity in key sectors, such as health, agriculture and mining.

The significant and motivated cohort of Saudi students studying in Australian higher education institutions has become the bedrock of our growing education ties. While border closures have necessitated a change in approach, with a greater focus on online and transnational education, Australian institutions are building ties with Saudi government and private sector entities to deliver high quality Australian education services.
Strong opportunity exists for Australian providers in the vocational education and training sector in Saudi Arabia to complement the investments that Australian providers have already made in the Kingdom, such as Aviation Australia College in Riyadh. Long-term investment in university education has resulted in a youthful generation of well-educated Saudis looking for professional roles, however there is a lack of trades and technical workers. Over 2 million foreign tradespeople and labourers have left Saudi Arabia since 2017, and maintaining productivity without them is a challenge for the country, which is also trying to encourage Saudis into semi-skilled jobs.

Australian Business Networks and Further Information

Useful contacts in Australia include:
Australia Saudi Business Council

Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry

There is an active Australian business and social community in Saudi Arabia, including the Australian Business Group Saudi Arabia who meet regularly outside of the summer month holiday period (and of course Covid-19 restrictions). You can register for ABGSA via Facebook or LinkedIn.
Austrade has published further information on the Saudi market, including contact details for its Riyadh office. The Australian Government regularly updates the travel advisory to Saudi Arabia.