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Marketing your products and services

The UAE, with its aggressive spending and high import propensity presents vast opportunities for pakistani businesses in the food industry. However, the large number of players, lack of Internet information, and different business culture makes it difficult for pakistani companies to identify the most important contacts and secure appointments. Relationships are key to doing business and emphasis weighs heavily on mutual respect and building trust. Regular visits, stopovers and attendance at exhibitions would help reinforce the customers your interest in their markets and commitment to a strong partnership. Experienced Business Development Managers are members of key food sector business groups and provide input into a number of industry directories. They are well connected with key business people and able to open doors on behalf of Australian companies. Austrade arranges frequent business delegations to the UAE and appointment programs for companies making individual visits. The UAE is a regional hub for trade exhibitions. Austrade arranges activities which bring local and Pakistani business people together at a number of key trade exhibitions each year. There is a big difference between the commercial laws in the UAE and Pakistan, which if not understood by pakistani companies, can result in decisions that impede the growth of business. It is very important to understand the legal context.

Distribution channels
Import and land distribution of food products is carried out by the private sector. Government intervention is limited to health regulations and labelling requirements. Many importers in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait buy food items via the UAE, since individual orders from these countries tend to be less than the minimum required by suppliers. Thus, container-sized loads are shipped to the UAE and broken down into smaller quantities for transhipment to these countries. Large importers are often integrated with logistics and distribution companies, who supply to wholesalers and retailers. Some of the large importers and distributors run their own retail outlets as well. The UAE distribution industry is very advanced, with sophisticated warehousing (cold chains) and inventory systems. The smaller organisations that do not own their own warehouses still have access through rented facilities.

Food items enter the UAE primarily via seaports with free trade zones situated in all the Emirates. The Jebel Ali port in Dubai is the world's largest man-made port, highly regarded for its expertise and precision in cargo handling. There is also cargo handling facilities attached to the international airport, called cargo 'villages'. Dubai Cargo Village handles more air cargo than any other airport in the region, much of it coming into Dubai by sea and going out by air mainly to Europe.