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Last week J&P Accountants attended the ‘Doing business in the Middle East’ event at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which presented corporations with a clear insight on how to conduct business in the Middle Eastern district. In 2019, we extended our VAT compliance service to UAE and KSA to offer access and support to cross border traders who wish to do business in the Middle Eastern market. Our company is currently in amidst of devising resources with partners which will allow us to provide additional services such as logistics and warehouse fulfilment across UAE and KSA. We saw this event as an excellent opportunity to develop further knowledge of the Middle Eastern environment, culture and government, which will help to support our business strategy.

The event included four guest speakers from Emirates, Consultics, MAG and MPM who contributed valuable knowledge on the macro environment such as; barriers to entry, government, culture and significant annual events including Gulfood and Expos 2020 in Dubai.

Mr Florian Lebrun, International Business Manager at MPM, explained how they successfully launched their premium cat and dog food business in the Middle Eastern market, which contributed to their first partnership deal with Arasland Trading and generated a million sales. MPM’s prosperity further increased when they signed a 5-year partnership deal with Pet Zone, which achieved over $1.3 million sales! Besides from Pet Zone facilitating MPM importing and selling its commodities across Kuwait in its physical retail outlets, they’re also responsible for registering MPM’s products and assuring that they’re compliant in Kuwait.

Mr Lebrun stressed the importance of carrying out market research before entering the market as there’s a list of requirements that need to be fulfilled before we can penetrate the market. These include finding someone who can register our business in the Middle East, and outsource resources like warehouses for inventory. Hence, why he advised that we should visit the nation beforehand and attend local exhibitions to network and meet potential business partners.

During the event, we also had the privilege of meeting Mr Stefanos Nicolaou, who is the CEO and founder of Consultics. Consultics is a business that assists organisations in setting up their trade across Europe and the Middle East. Mr Nicolaou presented us with some valuable information based on the Arabian culture, which examined how they do business, cultural differences, communication and the importance of knowing who the business decision-makers are.

Mr Nicolaou also addressed a few misconceptions about the Arabs since many people believe that doing business in the Middle East is very aggressive, when in fact it’s not. According to Mr Nicolaou, time in the Middle East is far less rigid, and their approach to time is much more relaxed and slower compared to western culture. When drawing up contracts in the Middle East, we must provide clear information and ensure transactions are fast. If communication isn’t clear, then Arabs will think that you are trying to deceive them, which is detrimental for business.  Furthermore, Mr Nicolaou also advised that it’s essential to know who the key decision-maker is behind each company, otherwise if we get it wrong then things will go downhill.

As the event was drawing to a close, we decided to take this opportunity to network with organisations and exchange contact details with potential business partners who we considered to be of value to our business operation in the Middle East. By expanding our services across the Middle Eastern market, it will allow us to further support the growth of our clients’ businesses by providing them with a diverse range of comprehensive services. The information and contacts that we have collected throughout the event will support us to execute our business in other Middle Eastern countries, thanks to the event organiser Greater Manchester Commerce of Chambers and all of its amazing participants that were involved.

If you are a cross-border trader who is interested in registering and selling in the UAE or KSA market, then take a look at our VAT compliance service page. Alternatively, you can call us on 0161 637 1080 or write to us at Vatdurham@jpaccountant.com. 

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