The Middle East is a large market, and for Australians the UAE is the hub and focus of exports. Connections between the UAE and Australia are strengthening every day as more Australian companies increase their exports to the region.

Building Products
The surge in construction activities in the UAE and across the region has brought about an unprecedented demand for building material products.

The construction industry is one of the most active sectors of the UAE economy. The UAE construction industry is valued at US$221 billion. The construction and tourism industries are the two major sectors of the local economy that will continue to generate high demand for building products. The UAE import market of building products is largely influenced by the level of construction activity in the country. Local market demand for building products is growing rapidly as public and private sectors are offering tenders for the construction of diversified commercial, residential, and institutional buildings. Projects include construction of new high-rise commercial/residential buildings, houses, hotels, beach resorts, hospitals, schools, roads, public parks, shopping malls, and a major airport expansion.

Environmental Products and Services
In recent years, the UAE has taken significant steps to protect the environment. These include: the establishment of the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA) in 1993; the creation of the Environmental Agency for Abu Dhabi (EAD) in 1996, the establishment and the full implementation of the UAE Federal Environmental Law 24 of 1999, the adoption of programs by municipalities for better environmental practices, the creation of separate entities by the major industrial institutions for the protection of the environment, the treatment and disposal of solid and medical waste, the treatment of wastewater, and several other initiatives.

Security Equipment and Services
The UAE market offers good opportunities for Australian security and safety systems and equipment firms. The current total market size is estimated at around US$1 billion; the market is estimated to increase by 1% annually over the next five years as a number of security-related projects are in planning stages. According to UAE Central Bank data, defence and security spending account for up to 20% of overall expenditures in 2005, UAE allocated $ 6.45 billion to defence and security, which accounted for 19.4% of the actual spending of US$33.3 billion. Indications are that UAE maintained same level of proportionate spending in 2006.

Skin Care, Beauty and Spa products
With a growing population, huge expansion in retail space and tax free incomes it is hardly surprising that consumption of cosmetics & fragrances in the Gulf states is the largest per capita in the world, the average purchase per head is US$334. In UAE, the total cosmetics & toiletries market is worth US$414 million at retail price while the total spend on beauty products in the Arabian Gulf States in 2005 exceeded US$2.1billion.

Retail space has been growing by almost 50% annually and the amount of retail space dedicated to beauty products has grown by over 30% in the past three years. Current estimates put the number of hair salons in the UAE in excess of 3000, with the number in the Arabian Gulf states thought to exceed 30,000.

Ai Group's assistance into the Middle East
For more information on the opportunities in your sector, email the Ai Group team.

Ai Group regularly takes trade missions to and hosts trade missions from the Middle East. Register for updates by emailing us.

For further information about trade links with UAE contact Ai Group National Manager – Business and International Advisory Services, Louise McGrath.