South Australia has a lot to offer to the MENA & India region, which I believe is still untapped. There are enormous opportunities for South Australian exporters of agricultural produce, agri-processed products, education services, medical and healthcare, and advanced technology-driven industries, amongst others.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world is on the cusp of a new beginning and there is no better time than now, to introduce various products and investment opportunities from South Australia to the MENA and India region as their importance is starting to grow due to the need for diversification of export markets and other geopolitical reasons.

As my position is co-located with AUSTRADE in Dubai, it also adds value by working closely with colleagues on the national level, as there will be a lot which we can work together on and complement each other.

If we delve upon the history of cross-border trade, we realise that trade links between the Arabian Gulf and the Indian subcontinent stretch back thousands of years; and in the present time when Dubai has become such an important economic and trading hub for the entire MENA and India region, I am really looking forward to utilising these trade and business links for South Australian businesses.

From the office in Dubai, South Australian exporters can make use of services which include in-market intelligence, introduction to key importers and distributors, facilitating trade through online digital platforms as well as trade exhibitions and B2B meetings.

Moreover, I am keen to work with South Australian companies to develop strategies for leveraging the Expo 2020 - Dubai (which will now begin in October 2021), through Australia’s participation.

The MENA and India region need more awareness of South Australia’s strengths and competitive advantages as a source for quality products and services. The office will be pro-active in reaching out to importers to showcase what South Australia has to offer; while also working to make sure that these importers visit South Australia to get first-hand experience – once border restrictions are lifted.

I will also be encouraging corporates in the region to invest, collaborate and do joint-ventures with South Australian companies and at the same time request South Australian companies to visit the region so that an in-market program of meetings with relevant importers and partners can be organised for them to start making vital business connections.

Until international travel can resume, I encourage South Australian exporters interested in the MENA and India region to contact me through the Department for Trade and Investment and I will endeavour to provide advice, guidance and support.