Australia keen to increase exports to Saudi Arabia
Australia keen to increase exports to Saudi Arabia
The trade mission, which came from the Australian State of Victoria also held a networking session with Saudi businessmen at the Australian embassy in Diplomatic Quarter on Tuesday night focusing on potential tie-ups in the agriculture and food processing industry.
Australian Ambassador Neil Hawkins opened the networking session to facilitate the interaction between the businessmen of two countries.
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest regional market for Victoria's commodity exports and largest market for food and beverage, including meat processing.
Speaking to Arab News, John Butler, commissioner to the Middle East for the Victoria government, said, “Victoria has announced it is looking to build on its 140 million Australian dollar (SR500 million) food, beverage and fiber exports to the Kingdom.”
Victoria is open for business, with a triple A-rated economy larger than that of Singapore and Hong Kong, he said, adding while it accounts for only three percent of Australia's land mass, it is responsible for 25 percent of the country's economic activity, he said.
Victoria is in Saudi Arabia this week as part of a food and agriculture trade mission that saw 15 of the state’s leading companies exploring business and trade opportunities during the international agriculture and agro-industry trade show in Riyadh, which is regarded as the Middle East's largest agriculture exhibition, he added.
“The objective of this mission is for the companies to showcase their products and services, discuss business opportunities with potential Saudi partners, participate in business to business meetings, network and maintain the existing relationship between Victoria and the Kingdom,” said Butler.
He added, “Saudi Arabia is Victoria’s sixth largest trading partner and its total export is valued to the tune of $750 million of which food and beverages contribute $140 million and the trend is increasing.”
He stated that the trade balance is strongly in favor of Australia. “We deeply value the relationship we have with the Kingdom,” he asserted.
Butler added: “The Victorian exporters taking part in this mission are committed to the Saudi food market and are ready to create new trade and investment, and develop even closer partnerships to increase exports to the Kingdom.”
He maintained that the Middle East is a major and fast growing trading partner for Victoria.
Butler, who also represents Victoria in north African countries, said, “Victoria’s food and beverage, and fiber exports to the Middle East and North Africa in 2013 was worth $1.3 billion, a 15 percent increase on the previous year.
The state was the first in Australia to establish a presence in the region when it opened the Victorian Government Business Office in Dubai in 1997, he added.
He said the food and agriculture trade mission from Victoria consisted of food and agriculture sectors, including meat, dairy, animal feed, baby food, seafood, aquaculture, commodities and retail products suppliers, notably Bonkers Trading Group-Baby Royale, a halal baby food manufacturer, and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, Australia's oldest dairy company and one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of dairy products in Australia.
But apart from these there are other potential areas of partnership between Victoria and the Kingdom, which include automobile industry, Institutions of higher learning in Victoria, including its capital Melbourne for higher education of young Saudi nationals.
Sharing their names, he said the Saudi students can go to Monash University, Melbourne university and Li Taobe university, which are also partnering here with Saudi universities to assist local students.
50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future
- Boom Supersonic’s aircraft is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year
- The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people
WEYBRIDGE, United Kingdom: Luxury air travel faster than the speed of sound: A US start-up is aiming to revive commercial supersonic flight 50 years after the ill-fated Concorde first took to the skies.
Blake Scholl, the former Amazon staffer who co-founded Boom Supersonic, delivered the pledge this week in front of a fully-restored Concorde jet at the Brooklands aviation and motor museum in Weybridge, southwest of London.
Boom Supersonic’s backers include Richard Branson and Japan Airlines and other players are eyeing the same segment.
The company aims to manufacture a prototype jet next year but its plans have been met with skepticism in some quarters.
“The story of Concorde is the story of a journey started but not completed — and we want to pick up on it,” Scholl said.
The event coincided with the nearby Farnborough Airshow.
“Today... the world is more linked than it’s ever been before and the need for improved human connection has never been greater,” Scholl said.
“At Boom, we are inspired at what was accomplished half a century ago,” he added, speaking in front of a former British Airways Concorde that flew for the first time in 1969.
Boom Supersonic’s aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year.
“If we can’t continue where you left off, and build on that, then the shame is on us,” Scholl said, addressing himself to an audience that included retired Concorde staff.
“Our vision is to build a faster airplane that is accessible to more and more people, to anybody who flies.”
Boom Supersonic is making its debut at Farnborough and hopes to produce its new-generation jets in the mid-2020s or later, with the aim of slashing journey times by half.
The proposed aircraft has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometers (5,167 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometers per hour.
If it takes off, it would be the first supersonic passenger aircraft since Concorde took its final flight in 2003.
The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people.
Some analysts remain skeptical over the push back into supersonic.
“Supersonic is not what passengers or airlines want right now,” said Strategic Aero analyst Saj Ahmed, stressing that many travelers wanted cheap low-cost carriers instead.
Ahmed said supersonic jets were “very unattractive” because of high start-up development costs, considerations about noise pollution and high prices as well as limited capacity.
Independent air transport consultant John Strickland also noted supersonic travel was unproven commercially.
“Business traffic, on the face of it, is the most lucrative for airlines,” Strickland told AFP.
“But if there is an economic downturn or something happens where the market for business class traffic drains away, then you have nothing else left to do with that aircraft.
“I think it’s going to be some time before we see whether it can establish a large viable market... in the way that Concorde never managed to do.”
These concerns have not stopped interest from other players.
US aerospace giant Boeing had last month unveiled its “hypersonic” airliner concept, which it hopes will fly at Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — when it arrives on the scene in 20 to 30 years.
And in April, NASA inked a deal for US giant Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic “X-plane.”