By Daniel Hunter

Yorkshire firms have the products, skills and expertise to capitalise on emerging opportunities in Saudi Arabia, according to a Middle East trade expert.

Companies involved in energy, speciality chemicals and advanced engineering — high growth sectors in the country - can discover first-hand what is on offer on a trade mission to Al Khobar next month.

The mission will offer up to 25 regional businesses the chance to meet with major companies in Saudi that are looking to partner with UK firms.

International Trade Adviser Brian Aungiers is leading the trip on behalf of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). He believes it provides a golden opportunity to secure lucrative and lasting contracts.

“There is a huge appetite in Saudi Arabia for the expertise that UK businesses can bring, and local firms are ideally placed to deliver the products and services they need,” explained Brian.

“Yorkshire and the Humber is a renowned hub for the UK’s energy sector, with at least 400 businesses within the supply chain offering extensive experience and skills in every aspect, ranging from traditional oil and gas, to renewables. Businesses here have the experience and skills born from the region’s long heritage in offshore gas, conventional and nuclear generation, offshore wind power and biofuels.”

With a population of over 27 million, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Arab world, accounting for 25 per cent of the Arab world's GDP.

Brian continued: “Exports to Saudi Arabia are up by 29 per cent, showing that the high growth markets identified by UKTI are really coming to fruition.

“There is a lot of infrastructure and development in the region, with major opportunities across the energy sector: Their oil based economy has led to relatively high growth and economic progress over the past few years, allowing the Kingdom to increase public spending on infrastructure and welfare to match the increasing needs of a fast growing Saudi population.

“Due to the immense growth in Saudi I’d also encourage businesses to attend who have expertise in associated renewable, environmental and educational sub-sectors along with businesses with North Sea deep water experience, and those with a mining specialism.

“Of course, businesses do need to be realistic: Saudi is a long term commitment which may require several visits before business is won, but the opportunities are enormous.

“Saudi Arabian companies are looking for help across all sectors and any businesses interested in supplying the energy industry or supply chain will be able to find opportunities if there product sells well in the UK.”

The UKTI trade mission is from 22 to 27 November. It will include a reception and networking event at the British Embassy in Al Kohbar; a visit to the Saudi Arabia International Oil and Gas Exhibition; a dinner with the British Business Association; and a combination of visits and business meetings with relevant high profile Saudi companies. Delegates can also set up their own meetings.

Businesses have until 25 October to register their interest. Financial support is available to reduce the cost of travel and the cost of participating in the programme of events.

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