Scottish companies with international ambitions are being urged to look at the growing opportunities in the Middle East by Scottish Enterprise.
Delegates attending a seminar in Edinburgh yesterday heard from a panel of visiting and domestic Middle East region specialists about high growth opportunities in markets including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait in the energy, education, smart technologies, financial services and renewable sectors.
With Middle Eastern countries keen to leverage foreign expertise in developing their economic diversity, Scottish companies which are prepared to visits the region and build relationships will reap the rewards, according to experts from the panel.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the biggest export market in the Middle East for Scotland, with Scottish exports to it having soared 67% from 2010-2014. Kuwait offers an attractive base for trade, with no quantitative restrictions on imports or capital transfers.
The event, hosted by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Scottish Enterprise was attended by almost forty Scotland-based companies interested in doing business in Middle Eastern markets.
At the event Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Markets Unit provided one-to-one advice for companies which were ready to explore their options more formally. The unit, which was set up in 2014, exists to help companies enter these more difficult to get into markets which potential have high rewards.
Scottish Development International, the international arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies will host a trade mission to UAE and Kuwait in November this year to give Scottish companies practical guidance and a platform for exploring opportunities, conducting market research and meeting potential agents or distributors. Another trade mission for Qatar and other markets in the region is planned for mid 2017, though details are still being confirmed.
Colin Crabbe, international senior manager at Scottish Development International, the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Many companies considering exporting are daunted by the prospect of entering foreign territories, let alone those as far away as the Middle East. Yet, with the right information, advice and support, these markets can offer high rewards, and are very receptive to Scotland, which is well-regarded for its for its technology, innovation and creativity across a variety of sectors.
“The Middle East and Gulf region particularly are interested in renewables, low carbon and smart technologies, while they also need products and service providers in education and the creative industries, as well as food and drink; so the opportunities are boundless.
“If companies are interested in exploring this region, they should be prepared to visit it and make contacts on the ground. Joining a trade mission or making contact with regional experts will give them tangible benefits and insights to base their business decisions on.”