The past few months has been a busy period for the AEI team with our members attending events in the UK, US, UAE and, of course, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Building Your Business in the Saudi Arabia

Heather Hopper, our Head of Market Entry, attended a joint SBJBC and UK-UAE Business Council event at the Voco Hotel in Dubai, and was introduced as the point of contact for any and all businesses looking at expanding into the Saudi market. The event offered an opportunity for delegates to listen to an experienced panel of business experts on how to do business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Simon Penney (HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East) gave a speech highlighting the fact that the GCC is the UK’s second largest export market outside of the EU and UK exports to the GCC exceed £25 billion per year. The panel then went on to discuss and inform the 150 attendees on a number of key talking points when it comes to success in Saudi, discussing the predicted areas of growth in the Kingdom and how British businesses can capitalise on new opportunities.

Other topics that were covered related to business etiquette, late payments, Saudisation, the implementation of VAT, the use of Zakat tax and the announcement of tourist visas.

DIT Healthcare & Life Sciences Trade Mission

Last month AEI Senior Consultant Yazan Shukair supported the UK’s Healthcare and Life Science Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia, which was organised by the Department for International Trade. The mission aimed to provide an in-road into the huge healthcare projects that are being undertaken as part of Vision 2030.

The mission began in Jeddah, where visits were made to major hospitals to speak with key stakeholders in the medical sector. The delegation visited the International Medical Center, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and spoke to Dr. Soliman Fakeeh. This was followed by a networking event between the UK attendees and local Saudi businesses at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce.

On the second day, the delegates travelled to Riyadh where they met with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA) and the National Center for Privatisation (NCP). The mission concluded on the final day with a visit to the Global Health Exhibition in Riyadh, the leading healthcare event in Saudi Arabia.


DSEI is always an important event in the AEI calendar and this year wasn’t any different. AEI sent a team of seven people to the ExCeL in London, where we lined up around 40 meetings for the three days that we attended.

Our CEO, Stuart D’Souza and Senior Consultant, Freddie Backman, both attended as keynote speakers. Stuart spoke about Defence Transformation in the GCC with a primary focus on the largest market for defence exporters – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Freddie focused his seminar on Doing Business in the GCC, highlighting that although the GCC and especially KSA can often be difficult markets to navigate, they cannot be ignored by any serious business and offer a whole host of opportunities if approached correctly.


As always we continued our growing exposure and engagement with Saudi’s largest bilateral trading partner, the USA. Our Founder Director, Adam Hosier recently visited several states on the East Coast including Maryland, Virginia, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. American trade organisations and private companies now amount to AEI’s second largest overseas market behind the UK.

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