Building Your Business
Exporting to the Middle East

1 September 2017

Invest NI Trade will deliver two export focused market events in the Middle East during September 2017. The first event is a multi-sectoral Trade Mission to Dubai & Kuwait and the second event will have a sectoral focus concentrating on the Middle East Waste and Recycling Exhibitionon the 25 - 27 September 2017.

If you are interested in exporting to the Kuwait | UAE region, apply below and see if your company is eligible to attend. If you are interested in attending the sectoral Waste and Recycling Exhibition, click here to find out more information and apply.

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Answer a few questions to see if you are eligible to download an application form.


So we can assess your business meets eligibility criteria for this trade mission / exhibition, please take a moment to answer the following questions:

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Kuwait - About the Market

Kuwait has a predominantly oil based economy, accounting for 6% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head. It is one of the UK’s largest and most important trading partners with bilateral trade doubling from £2 billion to £4 billion in the last 2 years.

A programme is underway to increase hospital beds to cope with the health needs of a growing, ageing and wealthy national population as well as a growing expatriate population.

Read more information

Benefits for Northern Ireland Businesses exporting to Kuwait include:

  • growing diversification within the Kuwaiti economy
  • earmarked government investment of £71 billion on infrastructure projects
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach for infrastructure projects
  • English widely spoken

Strengths of the Kuwaiti market include:

  • stable regime
  • strategic location in close proximity to other Gulf markets
  • Kuwaiti dinar is highest-valued currency unit in the world
  • moderate business costs

Northern Ireland companies are beginning to develop the Kuwaiti markets, although companies should be aware that it takes time to make sales and develop relationships within the market. Kuwait needs patience!! We see opportunities for specialised food products with reasonable shelf life. Opportunities also exist in the following sectors:



Infrastructure development at Kuwait International Airport (KIA) is a USD 6 billion project. It aims to expand capacity to handle 20 million passengers per year and become a major passenger and cargo hub for the region. The new passenger terminal was designed by a team led by the UK’s Foster and Partners. Some of the opportunities for UK companies are as follows:

  • reconstruction and extension of the existing runways
  • construction of primary and secondary access roads and taxiways, aircraft stands
  • enhancing control tower facilities
  • building new cargo facilities
  • upgrading other airport infrastructure



A programme is underway to increase hospital beds to 11,000 by 2016. It is designed to cope with the health needs of a growing, ageing and wealthy national population as well as a growing expatriate population. Healthcare is free for Kuwaitis. Some of the opportunities for UK companies are as follows:

  • medical equipment
  • information technology (IT)
  • training
  • maintenance
  • facilities management
  • hospital management



A massive new port and logistics facility will be developed over the next 20 years at Boubyan Island in the north west of Kuwait. This will be financed by the government of Kuwait in conjunction with the private sector. The facility will be linked to the GCC railway enabling the port to serve as a major deep-sea staging area for regional shipping and transportation. The wider aspects of the development will include:

  • housing
  • a free trade zone
  • industrial area

The port is currently under construction. Opportunities for UK companies include consultancy, design and planning for the next phase.



The shortage of housing and long waiting times for land allocation has resulted in housing being a government priority. There are plans to build 3 new cities by 2020. There are a total of 11 planned projects to build over 175,000 new houses. These projects will all need supporting transport and service infrastructure. There will be significant new opportunities for UK companies in:

  • project management
  • design
  • construction
  • the supply chain
Read more

UAE - Dubai - About the Market

The UAE has diversified its economy away from oil. Non-oil sectors now contribute about 70% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia and 30th largest globally with the 18th highest GDP per capita (USD 44,200) rate.

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There are a number of business sectors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that offer good opportunities to Northern Ireland companies:

  • education and training
  • energy
  • financial and professional services
  • healthcare
  • infrastructure and construction
  • defence and security
  • airports and aerospace
  • environment and water

With Expo 2020 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Economic Vision, UAE is spending on infrastructure, healthcare and education. Expo 2020 is valued at £2.5 Billion (GBP) for 2017, the contract for construction services has been awarded to Al Futtaim Carrilon JV.

Dubai is the commercial capital and the largest city in the UAE with 1.2 million people. It is a regional hub, servicing the MENA region. Many of the 5,000 successful UK companies are SME’s and based in Dubai.

Read more

Export advice and guidance

Our expert Trade Team in Belfast will be on-hand with advice and guidance to prepare for the mission. We have also appointed in-market trade advisors located in Dubai as well as our colleagues in UKTI who can provide tailored market research and arrange individual appointments for your company.

The cost of this service is heavily subsided by Invest NI, pricing details of which are below:

  • One centre – Up to a maximum of 5 consultancy days. Cost to company - £500 (excl. VAT)
  • Two centres – Up to a maximum of 10 consultancy days. Cost to company - £750 (excl. VAT)
  • Three centres – No of consultancy days agreed by the Territory Manager. Cost to company - £1000 (excl. VAT)


Benefits of Participation

  • Opportunity to access two flourishing markets
  • Advice and support on doing business in Kuwait and UAE by country experts
  • Direct insights into local market opportunities and conditions
  • Networking events providing you with the opportunity to meet with local industry representatives
  • Up to 50% contribution towards an economy airfare  *
  • Up to £75 per night towards accommodation – maximum 5 nights *

* Contribution towards airfares and accommodation is for one participant per company only

Please Note - De Minimis Statement

Companies who have exceeded their De Minimis aid limit will be unable to claim assistance towards travel, accommodation and in-market support for this mission. The maximum De Minimis aid any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (cash grant equivalent) over a 3 year fiscal period.

For more information visit HERE

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