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Free Trade Agreement Update

Free Trade Agreement update

We would like to advise of recent developments in relation to potential trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

DFAT are seeking submissions from interested stakeholders to help inform the Australian Government’s approach to both potential negotiations.

Australia-UAE CEPA Developments

On 17 March 2022, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan and HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi Minister of State for Foreign Trade issued a joint statement announcing Australia and the UAE’s intention to pursue a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

This will help grow the trade relationship between both countries, creating new jobs and opportunities for exporters. The UAE CEPA, a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), would be a first for Australia in the Middle East and be an important building block to a subsequent potential FTA with the wider GCC.

Later on, India and Australia on Saturday 2nd April 2022, signed a comprehensive interim free-trade agreement that will provide zero duty exports to 100% tariff lines from India to the Australian market, benefiting labour-intensive sectors besides providing greater access to the services space.

Further information is available at

Joint statement on the intent to pursue a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Australia

Media release: Expanding trade and investment with the United Arab Emirates

Australia-GCC FTA Developments

Australia and the GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) share a significant economic relationship, encompassing trade and investment across a broad range of goods and services.

It hopes that growing two-way commercial links will restart an FTA agreement that has been stalled since 2009 after four rounds of negotiations. The initial pause was the result of an internal GCC review of its approach to trade agreements.

The GCC renewed its interest in pursuing an FTA with Australia (and other key countries) as a priority market to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services.

Further information is available at

DFAT News Item: Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA - Request for stakeholder submissions

Tell us your view

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is seeking stakeholder submissions, including from interested businesses, State & Territory Governments, and non-government organisations, to help inform our approach to the future UAE CEPA negotiations, and on a potential future resumption of negotiations on a GCC FTA.

India and Australia are expected to unveil an interim, or early harvest, trade deal in the first week of April as a precursor to a comprehensive free trade agreement.

We are particularly interested in the opportunities and benefits for Australian exporters and importers, as well as details of specific impediments to trade and investment that these potential agreements could address.

Written submissions are requested by 30 April 2022 and can be emailed to and respectively. A combined written submission on both potential negotiations can be made if that is preferable or you may also contact an Image International Freight representative,


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