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Survey shows NZ businesses feel secure in Mid East

New survey shows New Zealand businesses feel secure in the Middle East

19 July 2005 -- A new survey of New Zealand exporters to the Middle East has revealed that security is not a significant issue for businesses already doing business in the region, according to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

The survey commissioned by NZTE aims to help New Zealand businesses take full advantage of increasing opportunities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the surrounding Gulf region, says Gavin Young, NZTE Senior Trade Commissioner in Dubai.

The research examines the real and perceived barriers to operating in the region and highlights the importance of Kiwi exporters ensuring their information is up-to-date and accurate, Mr Young says. More than 90 companies were surveyed for the report, researched by Gurpreet Singh, a Masters student from the University of Auckland on an internship with NZTE.

“We were very pleased to see that security was not a top concern for companies doing business in the region,” Mr Young says. “It was a higher concern for those interested but not active in markets and this perhaps reflects some misconceptions about the region.”

“In general though people now know more about the region than even two years ago and are able to make the separation between negative events and the rest of the region. In fact it was commercial concerns that were the top issues and that is as it should be in any market,” says Mr Young.

The survey found that the main concerns by companies operating in the UAE were related to competition, cost of market development and payment terms, while the perceptions of those interested but not yet doing business reflected more immediate concerns such as securing distribution, dependence on local representation as well as cost, competition and time to develop commercial relationships.

Those already in the market had fewer issues with doing business in the UAE than did those interested in the market. “This reflects the generally open nature of doing business in the UAE,” Mr Young said. While perceptions were that it was more difficult to do business in the wider Gulf region, this may have been negatively skewed due to perceptions of doing business in specific countries.

The survey will be used by NZTE to better target its services to exporting companies including through strategic projects like the Dubai ICT Beachhead, trade missions, in-market research and advice, and information for New Zealand companies looking to enter the market.

The markets in the region offer some big opportunities to New Zealand companies in areas such as wood and building materials, marine, food and beverages, ICT and education. There is a very high level of investment in the region at present on the back of high oil prices and this is driving some very high levels of demand, says Mr Young.

“Having Emirates Airline flying to New Zealand 28 times a week has also brought the UAE and the Gulf region much closer to New Zealand and we are seeing a heightened interest in the region from New Zealand exporters. Where an airline goes trade follows.”

Exports from New Zealand to UAE have fluctuated over recent years, with about NZ$155 million of exports sent there during the year ending March 2005. Food and beverage products still dominate, however, non-food sectors and wood products have shown impressive growth. The services sector is also growing rapidly in areas of education, consultancy and technology although there are no official statistics capturing it. New Zealand imports from the UAE over the same period were NZ$348 million – more than 90 percent of that being crude oil.

A summary of the report is available at: www.nzte.govt.nz/publications

Titled: “New Zealand Corporate Perspectives on the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Region “

ENDS

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