Preparing to export to the UAE

Taking a strategic approach

British companies are advised to undertake as much market research and planning as possible. Doing business with the UAE can be challenging, but taking a strategic approach is the key to making the process manageable. The first step is to spend some time thinking about your company's UAE objectives.

The ten questions listed below should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest a way forward that is right for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal UAE strategy, although this may not be necessary or appropriate for all companies: 

Your Aims

  • Do you wish to buy from the UAE, sell to the UAE or both?

  • Do you wish to establish your own company presence in the UAE, for example through a representative office, limited liability company or joint stock company?

  • Do you need to be involved in the UAE at all?


Your Company

  • What are the unique selling points for your product or service?

  • Do you know if there is a market for your product in the UAE?

  • Do you know if you can be competitive in the UAE?

  • Do you have the time and resources to handle the demands of communication, travel, product delivery and after-sales service?


Your Knowledge

  • Do you know how to secure payment for your products or service?

  • Do you know where in the UAE you should start?

  • Do you know how to locate and screen potential partners, agents or distributors?

It’s unlikely that you will have the answers to all these questions at the outset and these “knowledge gaps” should form the basis for further research and investigation.

Consultation and bespoke research

You will be able to find out some free information from carrying out desk research. As a minimum, you are advised to contact the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team at the British Consulate in Dubai prior to your visit to discuss your objectives and what help you may need. They can provide a range of services to UK-based companies, including the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers, establishing the interest of such contacts in working with the company, and arranging appointments. In addition, they can also organise events for you to meet contacts or promote a company and its products/services.


Help available for you

You can commission a UKTI Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to help you enter or expand your business in the UAE. Under this service, the Consulate’s Trade and Investment Advisers, who have wide local experience and knowledge of the UAE market, can identify business partners and provide the support and advice most relevant to your company's specific needs in the UAE.

Other UKTI services

UKTI assists new and experienced exporters with information, help and advice on entering overseas markets such as the UAE. These services include:

  • An Export Health Check to assess your company’s readiness for exporting and help develop a plan of action;

  • Training in the requirements for trading overseas;

  • Access to an experienced local International Trade Adviser;

  • Specialist help with tackling language and cultural issues when communicating with UAE customers and partners;

  • Advice on how to go about market research and the possibility of a grant towards approved market-research projects;

  • Ongoing support to help you continue to develop overseas trade and look at dealing with more-sophisticated activities or markets;

  • Information, contacts, advice, mentoring and support from UKTI staff in the UK and their network of staff in the UAE;

  • Support to participate in trade fairs in the UAE;

  • Opportunities to participate in sector-based trade missions and seminars;

  • Access to major buyers, local governments and supply chains in the UAE;

  • Advice on forming international joint ventures and partnerships;

  • Exploratory visits to the UAE;

  • Alerts to the latest and best business opportunities.


To find out more about commissioning any of these services, contact your local UKTI office. See:



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