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10 Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Thinking of doing business in the Middle East? Here at Gdtme have put together 10 tips for doing so. Unlike the fast-paced, heavy handed business norms of the west and Europe, doing business in the Middle East requires adapting to cultural, religious and traditional ways of doing business.

shutterstock_1066904541. Time isn’t always money
In the west and Europe time is always money. In the Middle East, business is focused on status. Large business owners may feel that the privilege of working with them should be compensated by you! Be prepared to be flexible.

2. Meet face to face
Meet potential business partners in person. This should be the gold standard. Try to avoid meetings with staff on the lower rungs of the business ladder. Don’t rely on email or telephonic contact.

3. Don’t focus on turnaround times
In the Middle East scheduling is flexible. Lunchtime meetings can be changed to dinners out so be willing to adjust to scheduling changes.

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4.Ideas? Be ready to change them
Be ready to change your original ideas. The Arab world is creative and readily embraces concepts and outcomes that are alien to other regions of the globe. Keep an open mind even if they’re suggesting a snow resort in the desert!

5. Do ‘business’ later

Often a formal proposal is worked out long after the initial verbal agreement. Be willing to adjust to their unique time frame. Be prepared to be patient.

6. Avoid stereotyping your potential partners

Despite our best efforts, we often hold ideas about people in the Middle East. Be aware that your potential partners are as smart as you are.

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7. VIP’s don’t do details
Once a deal is made, be prepared to deal with underlings. Don’t expect the VIP to meet with you to discuss the contract.

8. Take charge of follow ups

Sometimes deals with Middle Eastern partners may be made and are then followed by non-action. This doesn’t mean they’ve reneged on the deal, just that it’s probably far less important to them than it is to you.

9. Take note of holy days!

In Islamic countries Friday is the holy day. This means that in these regions the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Eid al-Fitr (preceded by a month of fasting) and Eid al-Adha are two important religious celebrations that can last for 3 days or longer. The Ramadan fast is a time of shortened working hours so avoid doing business at this time.

10. Etiquette in the Middle East

Learning a few greetings in Arabic is a great way to make a good first impression and creates the sense that you are interested in getting to know a different culture. It also creates a sense of respect for their traditions. You may also choose to learn the traditional Islamic handshake.


If you require anymore information on this topic, we are happy to help – Contact us at: info@gdtme.com or visit our website, Gdtme. 

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Expand Your Business Overseas with an Export Management Company

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Expand Your Business OverseasExpand Your Business Overseas with an Export Management Company.

In what is becoming an increasingly globalised world, the ability to sell products overseas is highly desirable goal for many businesses looking to expand their business.

Creating a presence in international retail markets is a vital growth strategy, yet many fail to understand the potential methods available for making this ‘dream’ a reality. This post aims to explain the benefits of choosing an Export Management Company as a way to venture into global markets and the processes such a company follows.

Why Export Overseas?

There are many reasons why you may wish to export your products to foreign markets, the main reason being the opportunity to access a much larger customer group. However, exporting internationally can also be beneficial for helping a business to spread risk should a local market experience recession spurring a fall in consumer confidence falls and a decrease in purchases.

Ways to Sell Your Products Abroad.

Many businesses can see the amazing opportunities venturing into international markets provides however the majority are overwhelmed with the perceived challenges and many complicated areas which must be overcome in order to make the process a success.

If you are only used to operating within your local supply chain, then you may lack the relative knowledge needed to operate in a different one. In order to export to overseas markets as efficiently as possible you will want to be prepared for all areas of exporting including understanding local customs and adjusting branding and marketing communications accordingly; as well as navigating language barriers, fees and international tariffs, among a whole host of other hurdles.

Why Choose an Export Management Company?

If you feel that opening your own operations in a foreign market is unachievable then an Export Management Company can provide an alternative which can simplify the process.

Export Managers help businesses to overcome the challenges they may face on their own by providing a logistic link in the international supply chain between producers in one country and channels to sell in another. They will be able to tap into an existing network of businesses and wholesalers which can help speed up the process of getting products on foreign shelves.
Through their knowledge of the market and the area Export Management Companies are able to help pass your products on in an efficient and cost effective way and develop the most effective way to link the supply chains of a business in the UK or other country and their potential partner(s) in the MENA region.

After discussion with your business, its process and goals, and once all requirements and barriers have been outlined and assessed, an export manager can begin the process of marrying up supplier to potential distributers in the region.

What Process Does an EMC Follow?

An Export Management Company will follow a number of processes to manage the flow of your product to the supplier. They are responsible for setting up the systems and processes needed to manage the flow of a product from your business to their local supplier/distributor.

Such tasks include of an EMC include:

  • Collection of goods
  • Consolidation and Interpretation of supplier documentation
  • Preparation of documents and certificates for shipment
  • Completion of customs export procedure
  • Shipment of goods
  • Delivery to partner distribution centres.

A good Export Management Company will ensure that you are informed about the progress of your products and about any potential issues and ways in which they can be resolved.

Why Export to the Middle East?

Every year there are new reforms in the MENA area which make it easier to do business in the region. The UAE and Morocco continue to lead in improving regulations business regulations, for example last year Morocco made it more straightforward to start a business as a declaration of business no longer needs to be filed.

This loosening of barriers and growth in the region has made it a popular choice for those looking to sell their products abroad. In particular, the UAE has been a popular choice due to the diverse and continually expanding economy and in the fact that English is widely spoken.

GDT: Export Management Company for the MENA Region

GDT are an Export Management Company established in 1982 and based in Dubai. Our primary area of operations are the GCC countries. However, for many brands, we handle the entire Middle East region along with some countries in the Mediterranean such as Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Malta.


For more information about exporting to the Middle East, or how we can help your business, please call us on +97143206673 or email us: info@gdtme.com

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