MintTwist join biggest-ever UK trade mission to the Middle East

MintTwist Directors Elliott King and Alexis Pratsides recently joined Business Ambassador Lord Digby Jones and a Britsh Trade Delegation on a trade mission in Dubai:

UK Trade & Investment (London)

London companies join biggest-ever UK trade mission to the Middle East

Newly appointed Business Ambassador Lord Digby Jones will head up a delegation of more than 200 UK companies in Dubai this week for “Britain in the Region” – a unique event for UK companies to learn the “ins and outs” of doing business in the booming Middle East and North African (MENA) markets.

Starting on Thursday (27 November), this is the largest-ever mission to the region organised by UK Trade & Investment and shows the UK’s commitment to strengthening trade ties with the MENA region.

The UK and the MENA markets have a long and established business relationship. The region is extremely important through its investment into the UK economy and as one of the most important destinations for UK trade and investment.

Lord Jones said:

“As a recently appointed Business Ambassador I am proud and delighted to lead this delegation of British business to Dubai. There is no denying that we are all facing difficult times, but that is the very reason why we should aim to strengthen the UK’s position as the region’s global partner of choice.

“The business event is designed to offer British companies a one-stop-shop, offering advice, commercial opportunities and information about how they can expand and develop their business potential in the MENA markets. It’s also an opportunity for UK businesses to showcase their expertise across a range of sectors, from construction to finance, healthcare, energy, education and the environment.

“The majority of companies attending ‘Britain in the Region’ are small to medium-sized businesses which now, more than ever, are looking to find news ways of doing business: new markets, new opportunities and new business partners.”

London-based Internet consultancy MintTwist, new to exporting, is taking part in the mission to make contacts in the travel and tourism market. Company director Elliott King said:

“We had already decided to start selling in at least one overseas market in 2009. Through the UKTI’s ‘Passport to Export’ programme and the help of our excellent UKTI London International Trade Adviser we gained the necessary support to make those first crucial steps. Once, with UKTI assistance, we had chosen UAE as the most suitable market for our first venture into exporting, we identified the ‘Britain in the Region’ event as a great opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the region, its people and its business culture.

“We hope to meet potential clients and delivery partners through the networking functions that we will be attending. After the event, we are staying on to follow up opportunities arising from the market report that the embassy created for us. We hope the mission will prepare us well for the meetings arranged as a result of the report.”

So far this year, UK exports of goods to the MENA region are worth more than £9.1billion, up 23 per cent compared with the same period last year. UK exports of services to the region were worth over £7.7billion in 2007, a 14 per cent increase on services exported in 2006. And it’s not just one-way trade, with £6.3billion worth of goods imported to the UK from the MENA markets, an 18 per cent increase on last year’s figures.

UK exports of goods are up by 100 per cent to Morocco, 125 per cent to Tunisia, 68 per cent to Oman, 43 per cent to Algeria; and exports of goods to Palestine have increased by over 300 per cent in the past nine months. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Libya, Egypt and other markets in the region all show increases in exports of goods of over 20 per cent.

The “Britain in the Region” event follows a string of highly successful trade and investment events this month.

At the beginning of November, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson led a high-level business delegation to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, aimed at forging closer business and political links. Also this month, more than 50 UK companies in the construction sector attended the Big 5 Exhibition in Dubai, the largest construction exhibition in the Middle East, while UK finance companies headed to Bahrain for the World Islamic Banking Conference to find out about opportunities in this growing sector.

Also this month, a delegation of 24 Saudi business leaders travelled to Manchester, Birmingham and London, looking for new joint-venture opportunities with UK companies; and a delegation from Abu Dhabi came to the UK, eager to work with UK companies on its Masdar City project -the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city.

These recent events represent a real push from all sides to increase global business partnerships between the UK and the MENA markets.

Notes to editors:

About UKTI

UK Trade & Investment is the UK Government’s international business development organisation, supporting businesses seeking to establish in the UK and helping UK companies grow internationally. The services offered by UK Trade & Investment bring together a network of business sector specialists and support teams in British embassies and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts all around the world, as well as key experts in government departments across the UK. UK Trade & Investment works with a wide range of partner organisations in the UK, including Regional Development Agencies and the Devolved Administrations, Business Links, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk. For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at http://www.newsroom.uktradeinvest.gov.uk

About the Business Ambassadors network

The Prime Minister announced the creation of a Business Ambassadors network in September 2006. The network consists of 17 high-profile UK Business and University leaders. Their role is to work with the Government to promote the UK’s excellence internationally and highlight trade and investment opportunities. They will have a particular focus on SMEs, which sometimes face greater barriers to accessing global markets than larger businesses

The role and extent of activities undertaken by individual Business Ambassadors will be flexible and dependent on their own time and availability. Key activities include:

* When travelling on business, carry out priority meetings at the request of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), for example lobbying to remove barriers to market access or leading events for SMEs;

* Undertake dedicated overseas visits or lead missions in agreement with UKTI;

* Brief UK Ministers and Ambassadors on key business priorities and interests as they might arise;

* Meet overseas Ministers and inward missions;

* Provide insights into how UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) can best deliver for business

* Contribute to Government-to-Government dialogues with China, India, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and other key markets.

Issued by COI News & PR on behalf of UK Trade & Investment

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