Premier promotes local products

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell officially opened a gourmet grocery outlet in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the weekend that sells a wide range of NSW produce.

Before his return to NSW after a week-long mission to Lebanon and the UAE, Mr O'Farrell toured the Milk & Honey grocer in Dubai which stocks several products from the Northern Rivers region - including Byron Bay Coffee Company, Byron Bay Cookies, Duck Creek Macadamias, Brookfarm and Australian Bush Spices.

"I am proud to see the world class products by our regional producers are making their mark in this highly competitive market," Mr O'Farrell said.

"Products from all over the world are sold in the UAE so new entries into the market need to be unique and of high quality.

"From coffee and cookies to muesli and bush spices, Australian products have a reputation for exceptional quality and I'm pleased to hear that the many Australian chefs working in the market have become excellent ambassadors for our produce.

"NSW food producers can find more opportunities in the Middle East. The large number of premium hotels and growing aviation industry in the region means that the catering and food service sector is evolving and expanding.

"As the Middle East looks at production of basic food products, opportunities also exist for NSW suppliers of food ingredients.

"NSW food product manufacturers are well placed to leverage consumer trends in the UAE and other markets where the middle classes are growing and disposable incomes are rising.

"The NSW Government is committed to growing our export markets and bringing economic benefits to the State, especially regional NSW," he said.

Milk & Honey Group was founded by Australian Shadi Joweihan - who was in attendance at the grocery outlet during the Premier's visit.

The business is an example of how Australians around the globe can develop trade relations between NSW and their country of residence.

Mr O'Farrell said the NSW Government's Business Office in Abu Dhabi started working with the NSW companies in mid-2011.

"Staff in our Abu Dhabi office facilitated introductions to Milk & Honey and assisted the NSW companies with import approvals and labelling requirements, as well as providing advice on market entry strategies and doing business in the Middle East.

"Milk & Honey, which has two outlets in Dubai, expects to increase its orders of NSW food products this year through its import and export division Milk & Honey Trading.

"This should build a long-term, mutually beneficial, growth-oriented business relationship with the NSW companies," he said.

Milk & Honey Gourmet, which stocks imported high-end brands, opened its first outlet on Palm, a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree off the coast of Dubai.

Palm is one of the most prestigious developments in the region, with many high-end retailers located there.

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