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Australia is keen to promote Islamic finance   

Khaleej Times - 18 June, 2010

Australian government and its missions in the UAE are striving to alleviate Islamic finance in Australia and woo UAE bankers to their markets, Australian ambassador to the UAE, Doug Trappett said.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, Trappett said, “There are two main areas in our relations with the UAE which require constant attention to keep our relations growing, education and tourism, because both are very competitive areas, of course.”

But Islamic finance is a new area Australians are looking at. “Islamic finance is another one where Australian government admits that its regulations perhaps have not been the best and most conducive for attracting UAE’s Islamic banks into the Australian markets but we are taking measures to address that.”

Trappett said I had spent lots of time in promotion of agriculture trade and food security issues here. The UAE showed its interest in investing in Australia particularly in areas related to mines and energy because Australia is very rich in those sectors, the ambassador said.

“But beyond that Australia and the UAE are also very close and are expanding defence security and diplomatic relationship and in these areas I spend my great amount of time because a lot of things are happening in those fields. The UAE is very ambitious about its diplomatic agenda and Australia is its close partner in those
areas,” Trappett said.

Drop in trade ties

When asked about the trade ties with the UAE, Trappett said, “Total two way merchandise trade between Australia and the UAE in 2008 was Australian $ 6.2 billion (about Dh18 billion).”

“In 2009 the figure was Australian $ 4.2 billion. In other words bilateral trade dropped heavily because of the global economic crisis. Australian export of cars, for example, was particularly badly hit,” the ambassador said.

There are about 16,000 Australians living in the UAE.

According to Australian embassy in Abu Dhabi, around 14,000 Emiratis visit Australia each year and about 1,700 Emiratis study in Australia. This is also experiencing a rise.

Around 5,000 multiple entry visas were issued to Emiratis, 
the envoy said.

To a question regarding the safety of UAE students who travel for studies and visit, he said, “We have not seen any unwanted circumstance for Emiratis in Australia who wanted to study or visit the country and I have not heard anything happened in respect to that in the UAE that they were targeted there. There has been strong demand for education and tourism visas which are also growing.”

“I have not heard too much about medical tourism to Australia from the UAE and probably a small number of people travel from here to Australia for the purpose. I heard most of Emiratis travel to Europe or Bangkok for medical tourism purposes,” he said.
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