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Victoria to step up Mena trade.

(Date: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 )

The Victorian Government has signalled its intentions to ramp up trade engagement with the Mena region, embarking on Australia's largest ever trade mission to the region, generating $2.4 billion of value to the Victorian economy annually.

Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher; will lead the first multi-sectoral trade mission of more than 100 organisations from Victoria's food and beverage, infrastructure, water and agribusiness sectors to the UAE and Qatar starting next week.

A small delegation of companies will also be part of an additional side mission into Saudi Arabia, said a statement. "This is Victoria's first super trade mission to the Middle East, demonstrating the Victorian Government's commitment to expanding trade opportunities in this key market," Asher said.

She said an increasing appetite for Victoria's clean, safe and reliable food and beverage products along with world-class expertise in infrastructure, water management and professional services is driving demand in the region.

"This trade mission will provide Victorian companies with prime opportunities to connect with key buyers, importers and distributers in the Middle East, in order to expand existing relationships and establish new markets for Victoria's high quality goods and services."

Key events during the mission include one of the world's largest annual food and beverage trade fairs Gulfood, Dubai, where 80 Victorian companies will showcase their products and expertise to more than 65,000 buyers from around the world.

In 2010-2011 Dubai imported $830 million worth of Victorian food and beverage, the statement said.

A series of dairy industry forums will take place in Qatar, UAE and Saudi presented in conjunction with Dairy Australia and industry leaders such as Murray Goulburn, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and Bega Cheese.

These forums underscore the Victorian Government's commitment to increase exports of high-value and high-margin dairy goods, such as infant formula, sports nutritional drinks and adult supplements, as part of the dairy nutriceuticals to Asia programme, announced by the Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu last year.

The quality and safety of the food and beverage will also be on show for key buyers, importers and distributors at a series of 'Put Victoria on Your Table' networking events in Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Riyadh. These events will feature Victorian produce, and build on its global reputation as a world-class supplier of food and beverage.

"Victorian companies are also renowned for expertise in infrastructure development - be it port development, rail infrastructure, or most notably, assisting in the construction of the world's tallest building in Dubai in 2009," Asher said.

The companies are developing innovative solutions to water management issues, addressing critical development issues related to long-term sustainability and liveability.

"These capabilities are already in demand in various drought-affected markets from California to China and the developing African nations. As part of this mission, we will be providing organisations in the Middle East the opportunity to come face-to-face with our recognised expertise across the diverse range of water management issues, and I have no doubt they will be interested in what we have to offer," Asher said added.

Minister Asher will lead the Mena Super Trade Mission to Doha from February 15, and then to Dubai and Abu Dhabi before joining Baillieu on the India Super Trade Mission in Delhi on February 21. - TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Feb 7, 2012
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