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In the year ended December 2008 Bahrain ranked as New Zealand’s 63rd most significant bilateral trade partner, and is currently our fifth largest trading partner among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) states. New Zealand’s exports to Bahrain in the year to December 2008 amounted to NZ$71.1million and comprised primarily dairy products and meat, while imports from Bahrain totalled $20.4 million over the same period, with the majority being confidential items and aluminium wire. Bahrain’s role as a centre from which to conduct trade with other GCC states is facilitated by its good telecommunications and air and sea links.
In March 2005 NewZealand and Bahrain signed an Arrangement for Cooperation (AFMC) between the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the NewZealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and an Arrangement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC).
New Zealand is currently negotiating a Free Trade Arrangement with the GCC states. Five rounds of negotiations have been completed with a sixth round to be held in New Zealand in October 2009.
Since 1 July 1999, GCC nationals, including from Bahrain, have not required visas to visit New Zealand for visits of up to 90 days.
Land Area - 712 km2
Population - 742,561 (2008)
Capital City - Manama
Religion - Islam (Shi’a Muslim 70%; Sunni Muslim 30%)
Official Language - Arabic and English
Currency -1 Bahraini Dinar (BD) = 1000 fils (fs)
Excahnge Rate - US$1 = BD0.376 (2008)
Political system - Constitutional Monarchy
National government - Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister who is appointed by the King.
National legislature - Bicameral legislature - the National Assembly, consisting of 40 elected members who sit in the Chamber of Deputies, and a Consultative Council of the same size appointed by the King
Last Election -Municipal and parliamentary elections were held in May and October 2002 respectively, following an overwhelming vote in a February 2001 referendum to return to constitutional monarchy. The next election is due in 2010.
Head of State - His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who acceded to the throne in March 1999.
Head of Government - Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa
Main Political Parties - Political parties are not permitted but political societies have been formally sanctioned since late 2001.
GDP - US$19.4 billion (2008 EIU estimate)
Real GDP growth - 6.3% (2008 EIU estimate)
Exports - US$17.5 billion (2008 EIU estimates)
Imports - US$14.2 billion (2008 EIU estimates)
Current account - US$2.3 billion (2008 EIU estimate)
Inflation - 4.8% (2008 EIU estimate)
Gross external debt - US$10.0 billion (2008 EIU estimate)
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$71.1 million (for year to December 2008)
Main Exports - Cheese (NZ$49.6 million); Meat (NZ$6.6 million); Butter (NZ$4.6 million); Milk and cream (NZ$2.7 million)
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$20.4 million (for year to December 2008)
Main Imports - Aluminium wire (NZ$9.7 million); confidential items (NZ$9.7 million)
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Bahrain [external link].
Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers: telephone: +6444398000; fax: +644439 8532.