Dunia El-Zobaidi is an Arab Weekly correspondent in London.

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  • Thousands attend Going Global Live to learn about taking business overseas

    A British barrister registered in Malta spoke about how Malta helps Middle East companies trade in Europe.

    Leading business show. A picture taken at Going Global Live, May 2017. (Going Global Live)

    2017/06/04 Issue: 109 Page: 18

    London - Nearly 3,400 business owners attended Going Global Live, a confer­ence in London that shows attendees how to take their businesses overseas or in­crease presence in the international marketplace. Many businesses that were at the May event are active in the Middle East.

    One company in attendance was Arthur J. Gallagher and Company, an international risk management and insurance brokerage firm that helps small and medium-sized en­terprises go global.

    “Regulatory environments are different in every country so we ad­vise them on what they need,” said Wayne Grinsted, the company’s re­gional managing director.

    “The Middle East is challenging from a regulatory perspective and political perspective. It is unique because of the ‘Arab spring’. We need to revise very carefully to en­sure their interests are protected but, nonetheless, there is no pro­hibition from that perspective,” he added.

    Also represented was the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Au­thority (KDIPA), whose core goal is to attract inbound investments to Kuwait. They focus mainly on the IT sector, health care and educa­tion.

    “We have worked with huge com­panies such as IBM and General Electric. Every year we come up with new sectors to work in. We do all our research around the world. We try to see it from every angle, so politically, geographically and eco­nomically and we see which sectors are booming,” said Farah AlAjeel, who works in the company’s pro­motional activities department.

    “General Electric just opened its first branch outside the United States and it was in Kuwait. It is a training centre. The reason they chose Kuwait is because it is strate­gically located in the Middle East,” she said.

    “If you choose to invest through KDIPA, you get incentives. Previ­ously you couldn’t invest solely on your own, you needed a local part­ner, but through us you have 100% ownership of your company. You get exemptions from taxes, includ­ing custom duty taxes. Also, we transfer earnings free of charge. We will also treat your company as a Kuwaiti company so you can invest in other parts of the [Gulf Coopera­tion Council].”

    Translation companies also at­tended the event. The company 101Translations has many clients who work with the Arab region.

    “We work with a network of trans­lators who have a lot of expertise. Many European companies need to communicate with the Arab region. We have done translations for busi­ness proposals, interactive systems, software and medical question­naires. We also have a point and re­ward system,” 101Translations Man­aging Director Giovanni Giusti said.

    “A lot of our customers for Ara­bic are design firms and marketing firms. Arabic is written from right to left so that affects the layout of books. We have professionals who work with Arabic layout because if we send Arabic text to our British customers, they will not be able to come up with a properly formatted text. Another popular service we of­fer is double-sided business cards where one side is in English and the other is in Arabic.”

    A British barrister registered in Malta spoke about how the country helps Middle East companies trade in Europe.

    “Malta is the most southern country in Europe. Its neighbouring countries are Sicily at one end and Libya at the other. It has strategic shipping routes into Europe and the Middle East. We set up Maltese companies because it is a tax-effi­cient jurisdiction. The effective cor­porate tax rate after tax refunds is 5%. As Malta is a European jurisdic­tion, it will be a European company with a VAT number so that allows Middle Eastern companies to trade in Europe so they can claim back VAT,” said Geraldine Noel, a partner of Acumum.

    “Malta also offers a number of residency programmes. We have clients from the Middle East enjoy­ing the benefits of that. Malta is a member of the Schengen visa-free travel zone so it provides for visa-free travel as well. The residency is a one-time payment of 30,000 euros ($33,642), which includes grandpar­ents, yourself and your children,” she added.

    The next Going Global Live event is scheduled for November 16-17 at Olympia in London. If interested in exhibiting, con­tact Simon Chicken at 0117 907 3520 or simon.chicken@prysmgroup.co.uk.

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