Critical Minerals: Australia Eyes Free Trade Agreement with UAE

by | 23. Feb 2024 - 10:26 | Politics

Trade Minister Don Farrell visits Abu Dhabi. An agreement could bring billions in investment to Australia’s resources sector.

Resource-rich Australia is expanding its position as a major global producer of critical minerals and is also seeking foreign investment in the sector. This could soon come increasingly from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Australia’s most important trading partner in the Middle East; a free trade agreement between the two countries is expected to be concluded this year, Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell told Bloomberg (paywall). Talks to this effect are planned at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization WTO in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which Farrell will be attending.

A trade agreement with the UAE could bring billions of dollars of investment to Australia’s mining and resource processing sector, writes The West Australian. According to the industry service Global SWF, four sovereign wealth funds in the Arab country alone are among the top 15 in the world.

While the trade agreement with the UAE is making good progress, talks with India and the European Union have been put on hold until after the upcoming elections there, Bloomberg quotes Farrell as saying. He described the negotiations with the EU as tense; as we reported, agricultural policy, in particular, is an issue of conflict, and Australian representatives also accused the alliance of unrealistic ideas concerning critical minerals and rare earth metals. A view that Australia’s Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, recently confirmed in an interview.

Photo: iStock/SeventyFour

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