Exporting to Dubai - Getting into the market


Having created an unrestricted trade environment, Dubai's market has become very competitive in many sectors. Introducing your products into such a crowded marketplace will involve hard work and creative marketing. UK businesses wishing to enter the Dubai need to identify potential advantages such as better quality, faster delivery, lower prices or more innovative designs. Price is seen as key in promoting sales although quality and after-sales service are also important considerations. Regular visits to the country are likely to reap rewards.

Most government ministries in Dubai are required to purchase through local agents who may also help with sales and marketing. However, it is still possible for British firms to sell direct local contractors.

Businesses beginning to engage with Dubai will need to choose the best strategy for selling and delivering their product in this unique environment:

  • Direct selling to established importers and traders is often the best route to test the market with low volumes, but is usually not the best long-term solution
  • Selling via agents or distributors. Outside of the Free Zones these will have to be UAE companies or owned by UAE nationals.
  • Setting up a local business presence has a number of advantages, including the fact that Dubai business people prefer to meet in person. Setting up a business in Dubai can be time-consuming though.  There are no “off the shelf” companies and it's essential to get quality legal advice to guide one through the registration process.  Normally foreign participation in these ventures is limited to 49 per cent, but there are contractual means to mitigate the negative effects of minority ownership. An alternative option is to open a branch office.

Special Arab Certificates of Origin are required for exports to Dubai and the rest of the UAE, and labelling in Arabic is required for all consumer products. 

Telephone one of our specialists on 0845 0347200 or email for advice.


Exporting to the Arab World? Read our Arab Certificates of Origin FAQ page, and apply online for your Certificates of Origin here.

Chamber International - Arab Certificates of Origin