Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA
About the Australia-GCC FTA negotiations
Australia and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) share a significant economic relationship, encompassing trade and investment across a broad range of goods and services.
The GCC is a key established market for a range of Australian exports including agricultural products like live animals, meat, dairy, vegetables, sugar, wheat, and other grains, as well as automotive and resources exports. The majority of Australia’s goods trade with the Middle East is with the GCC, accounting for $11.8 billion in two-way goods trade in 2021. It is also a growing market for services and investment, with strong opportunities in infrastructure, education and professional services.
Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the GCC commenced in July 2007. Four rounds of Australia-GCC FTA negotiations were held, with the last one occurring in June 2009. Negotiations with the GCC were subsequently paused and there have been no further negotiating rounds.
At the GCC Leader’s Summit in January 2021, the GCC renewed its interest in pursuing an FTA with Australia (and other key countries) as a priority market. Subsequent discussions have occurred between Australia and the GCC at Ministerial and officials’ level on a potential resumption of negotiations.
Stakeholder consultation process
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is seeking stakeholder submissions on particular opportunities and benefits for Australian exporters and importers in a possible FTA with the GCC. DFAT is particularly interested in details of specific impediments to trade and investment that the agreement could address. Information from stakeholders will help inform the Australian Government’s approach to a potential future resumption of negotiations on an FTA with the GCC.
Following then Minister Tehan’s announcement of a stakeholder consultation process for the GCC FTA, written submissions are requested by 30 April 2022, which can be emailed to GCCfta@dfat.gov.au. However, DFAT will continue to welcome submissions at any time from interested individuals and groups.
A written submission on the GCC FTA can also be made as part of a response to the request for stakeholder submissions on the proposed Australia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was announced by then Minister Tehan on 17 March 2022. Further information is available at Australia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
DFAT will continue to provide information and updates on this website. Requests for additional information can also be made by email to GCCfta@dfat.gov.au
For more information on how to make a submission and possible issues stakeholders may wish to address, please visit Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA submissions.