Tips for doing business in the Middle East and UAE
Mike Millet, Commercial Manager for Jack Links, has spent the last 10 years extensively working with customers from the Middle East and UAE, including creation of the initial contracts for the supply of products to the paperwork and shipping requirements expected by the customers.
To assist exporters who are looking at doing business in the Middle East and UAW, Mike has shared his findings and some points to consider.
– Find a good, strong, knowledgeable partner that can provide in market guidance. NZTE can assist with this.
– Ensure you build a strong relationship with the business partner as they will be your eyes and ears in the market.
– Working with a partner will provide you with in market support for local labelling requirements, municipal legislation, and translations for the specific market.
– Ensure the terms of trade are well defined and understood by both parties, customers in the Middle East always push boundaries especially for payment of invoices.
– Shipping to the Middle East can sometimes be complicated, work with the business partner to obtain the best clearance houses for your product.
– UAE is very easy to do business with providing there are no mistakes made, they will become intolerant of any issues. They like to keep things simple and accurate.
– The legislative requirements can change often in some markets and exporters need to be aware of these prior to preparing orders, it can be very costly to correct things once in market.
– Most Middle Eastern countries look to Saudi Arabia for Halal requirements, but some have their own take on the certification, for food products there are very strict guidelines for who can certify for a specific market.
– Some countries in the Middle East are easier to deal with than others, i.e. Qatar seems to be far more relaxed about product labelling requirements than UAE.
– It is possible to get products into one country and then move them to another in the Middle East. It can be a way of getting distribution into a country via another. Partners can help with this if issues arise
– One risk is not being paid on time. This is something that can creep up on you. Customers can seem to be very willing to do business and start really well, then after things are relaxed a little, they take advantage. Keep rules and processes simple and consistent. Stick to them.
– In the UAE, some products will not be able to penetrate the market for consumption by local consumers as they have limited incomes. Expats are a big part of the economy and they are a great target audience