Department of State Development
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE, the second largest Gulf economy, is gradually diversifying to prevent over-dependency on oil revenues.

The UAE is the largest Gulf economy after Saudi Arabia and is gradually diversifying its economy to move away from over-dependency on oil revenues. The UAE has a population of 9.4 million, 88 per cent of which comprises immigrants.

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UAE's seven emirates, while Dubai is the most populous city. Dubai is known as a global city and business hub with 80 per cent of the population comprised of expatriates.

Dubai in particular has striven to implement highly business-friendly policies to encourage trade and investment, and is now a major transport hub for passengers and cargo.

Key South Australian merchandise exports to the UAE include wheat, confidential items of trade, vegetables, fresh meat, alcoholic beverages and fruit and nuts. There are strong export opportunities for South Australia in the areas of agribusiness, premium food and wine, smart and renewable technology, health, and resources and energy.

Sector opportunities

Agribusiness, premium food and wine

The UAE has a growing and affluent population comprised largely of expatriates, which presents significant opportunities for the export of South Australian premium food and wine to hotel chains and restaurants. 

Smart and renewable technology

Green and renewable energy and technologies are of increasing interest to the UAE, and an area in which South Australia has much expertise.


With the provision of high quality health care a priority, South Australia can provide assistance in education and training, preventative medicine, primary care, health care infrastructure and policy development. 


Resources and energy

The UAE is growing as a hub for mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies expanding into neighboring regions, providing opportunities for South Australian METS companies to respond to this demand.


Services trade is a significant component of the commercial relationship between the UAE and Australia, with the presence of several Australian offshore campuses. There is potential for South Australia to form partnerships with local institutions to deliver an Australian curriculum in-country.

Want to know more?

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