What is the economic and political environment for doing business in the Middle East?


August 2016

The Middle East is a geographic region that comprises Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Parts of the region have been hit by political instability in recent years, but continued economic growth and rapid population growth present some strong
export opportunities for Australian SMEs.

Export relationship

  • The Middle East is strategically located between Europe and Asia, meaning it is well-placed to act as a trading hub for Australian companies operating there.
  • Australia has a strong relationship with a number of markets in the Middle East, with United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia our strongest export partners in the region.

Economic climate

  • Economic growth in countries within the region has been mixed in recent years.
  • Generally, growth has slowed, with civil and political turmoil, and depressed commodity prices, weighing on growth rates across the region.
  • With oil dominating the region’s economy, a prolonged slump in the oil sector could continue to place pressure on the region’s growth.

Political climate

  • Middle East covers a diverse group of countries that each have unique political situations.
  • A number of countries have experienced civil and political unrest in recent years, posing a possible threat to Australian businesses operating in affected countries.
  • Any exporter considering entering a country affected by turmoil should conduct extensive research to understand the risks before entering the market.

Find out more

Find more detailed information about the economic and political environment in the Middle East here.