The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is among Australia’s most important economic partners as both countries co-operate closely to promote bilateral trade and encourage investment opportunities, according to a top executive member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A member of the Chamber’s executive committee, Rashid Al Mazroei also stressed on the importance of strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries which he said enjoyed a long trading relationship. Al Mazroei made the remarks during the week when he received a high profile Australian delegation headed by Mark Vaile, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and former Minister of Trade, at the Chamber headquarters in Dubai. The delegation were in Dubai as part of their 2012 Business Mission to GCC states. Australia is ranked 23rd on the list of Dubai’s top trading partners at the end of 2010 and their non-oil trade registered Dhs2.85 billion in the first five months of 2011. Currently, there are 261 Australian partnership companies registered at Dubai Chamber, according to Al Mazroei. He also stressed on Dubai Chamber’s commitment in providing all the support and facilities to the development of Australian businesses in the Emirate and called upon the Australian companies to benefit from the vast investment opportunities available here as well as to work towards enhancing trade ties with their counterparts in Dubai. In order to facilitate greater two-way trade and investment between their business communities, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry received a high profile Australian delegation headed by the Hon Mark Vaile, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and former Minister of Trade, at the Chamber headquarters in Dubai recently. Seeking to foster a stronger economic relationship with Dubai businesses, the delegation which also included Senator Nicholas Sherry, former Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, and a number of representatives of Australian companies, was received by Rashid Al Mazroei, Member of the Executive Committee, and Atiq Juma Nasib, Senior Director, Commercial Services Sector, Dubai Chamber. Al Mazroei also pointed out that there are over 20 weekly flights operating between Dubai and various Australian cities which he said help reduce the distance and facilitate trade as well as emphasise on the role of Dubai as a link between the East and the West. On his part, Mark Vaile lauded the business relationship existing between the UAE and Australia stressing that both the sides can explore investment opportunities in their common areas of interest.