By Daniel Hunter

Over 20 Lincolnshire businesses got top tips on exporting to the Middle East from high profile speakers including Arab royalty, during a special export event in Grantham this week, organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) sponsored export body emita and Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, the First Secretary for the UAE Embassy in London, gave an insider’s update on export opportunities during the evening event, which aimed to provide local firms with the advice they need to sell to the UK’s 13th largest export market.

One of the Shaikh’s roles is to ensure that no efforts are spared in increasing the two countries’ bilateral trade to £12 billion by 2015.

Susan Hallam, Chairman of emita said: “It’s a fantastic coup for emita to have secured such a high profile speaker to help some of our local firms make inroads into this booming market.

“The extremely diverse Middle East region continues to go from strength to strength. The oil exporting states of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have benefited from high growth over a sustained period and have ambitious plans to diversify their economies and to meet the aspirations of their growing populations.

"This development is creating more opportunities than ever for British businesses, across a whole range of sectors in these markets, including education and training, defence and security, construction and energy and we want to ensure that Lincolnshire firms have the skills and knowledge to secure a piece of the action.”

Helen Tomkinson, International Trade Manager at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce said: “We want Lincolnshire to be a top exporting county, so the chance to hear directly from such high profile speakers was a great opportunity for our firms to get an insight into the Saudi Arabian and the UAE markets, including the current trading conditions, key pointers on routes to market and the business opportunities that exist. I hope that this will help local firms to avoid the pitfalls and overcome any challenges.”

Other speakers at the event included David Lloyd OBE, a Senior Consultant at the Middle East Association, who has spent his career in the Diplomatic Service and has lived and worked in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and Meriem Bertouche, CEO of Winceby-based company Badley Ashton, a geoscience consultancy, providing reservoir description services to the oil and gas industry worldwide. Today, the Middle Eastern business represents more than 50% of their total turnover.

Meriem Bertouche, CEO of Badley Ashton,said: “There are huge up and coming opportunities across the UAE, with new towns and cities being developed on a regular basis, plus there are a lot of expatriates based across the Middle-East which creates a big market for lots of sectors, from oil and gas to construction to food products.”

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