Department of State Development
  • Saudi Arabia

Australia’s second-largest trading partner in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country and economy of the Middle East and is known as the birthplace of Islam. It has a young population of 28.6 million and is governed by a monarchy.

The Saudi Government is pursuing economic reform through the policy of ‘Saudisation’. This approach aims to increase the number of Saudi citizens working in the private sector and to diversify the skills of the population for greater education levels and meaningful employment.

As Australia’s second-largest trading partner in the Middle East, there is undeniable potential for greater economic ties in the areas of agribusiness and premium food, education, mining, resources and energy, renewable technology and defence.

Key South Australian merchandise exports to Saudi Arabia include confidential items of trade, vegetables, specialised machinery and parts, fresh meat and lead.

Sector opportunities

Agribusiness and premium food

Saudi Arabia has limited agricultural self-sufficiency and is therefore highly dependent on food imports. Animal meat products, vegetable, wheat and meslin exports from South Australia are traditionally strong areas and hold much potential.


Saudi Arabia is actively promoting its students to study abroad through the generous King Abdullah Scholarship Program and South Australia can attract students in the areas of vocational education and training.

Mining, resources and energy

Saudi Arabia possesses reserves of various minerals and base metals including barite, copper, silver and phosphate, creating opportunities for South Australia in mining services and technologies.


Renewable technology

Diversifying away from an overdependence on oil, investment in solar energy projects and solar panel manufacturing plants provides an opportunity for South Australian companies.


With the fourth highest defence budget in the world, Saudi Arabia offers many opportunities in the area of defence. Several South Australian defence companies are already present in the country.

Want to know more?

A dedicated team is on hand to support businesses looking to export to MENA.