Introduction

The UAE’s strategic location between the West and East can offer attractive possibilities for companies considering international expansion. Businesses can benefit from opportunities that lie in the UAE market itself but they can also look beyond, as it offers a gateway to the rest of the GCC countries, the Middle East and further East.

Differences are anticipated when interacting with other cultures on all levels, from the government system, the dominant religion and the country’s history, through to people’s mindsets. All these factors influence in one way or another how business is conducted. On first contact, differences can seem almost alien, however through study and experience one can begin to understand these and assimilate similar processes and behavior to integrate.

There are approximately 100 Norwegian companies in the UAE with more expressing curiosity over the possibilities that could be on offer. There are approximately 1200 Norwegian citizens living and working in the UAE. This guide has been developed to provide an insight to Norwegian enterprises and citizens on conducting business and living in the UAE from a Norwegian standpoint.

It aims to give an overview of the UAE’s socioeconomic situation and to educate on cultural aspects of conducting business, becoming established and the daily life. In addition, it offers a brief introduction on sectors that could be of interest for Norwegian enterprises, as well as points to watch out for and tips for a successful establishment.

Every effort has been made to ensure information and figures are as accurate as possible. The year data applies for and their source are quoted wherever relevant. Information can be sourced, however, it can prove to be a challenge and a time consuming process to obtain. As a result, some data is based more on estimates and speculation rather than statistical facts. It should also be noted that the UAE is a young country and a fast growing economy and processes and regulations can change at any time to adapt to new requirements.

This document is designed to be used as a guide only and under no circumstances should it be used as the main basis for making strategic or marketing decisions. It is aimed at a wide audience and since each case and requirements will be different, extensive research and careful planning are advisable before dedicating resources and pursuing the UAE market.

We hope this guide will be useful for Norwegian enterprises and that it will serve as a compass in choosing the right path in the journey of exploring this market. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and organisations such as Innovation Norway and NORWEP are at the services of Norwegian enterprises to assist at every step of this journey.

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, June, 2017