The Business Year

Eng. Saed Al Awadi

UAE, DUBAI - Economy

A Job To Do

CEO, Dubai Exports


Saed Al Awadi is the CEO of Dubai Exports. He has a degree in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and a Master’s in Environmental Management. On top of that, he has an Executive MBA from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his role at Dubai Exports, he is a Member of the Board and CEO at Export Credit Insurance Co. of Emirates, Vice-Chairman of the Board at Msharie Venture Capital, a Member of Emirates Standardization and Metrology Board of Directors, a Member of the Board of Trustees of the German UAE Council for Trade and Industry, and a Chairman of the Board of Aman Union.

What is the objective of the new office you opened in Mumbai? Within our plan to promote Dubai and trade in general, one of the activities is the opening of […]

What is the objective of the new office you opened in Mumbai?

Within our plan to promote Dubai and trade in general, one of the activities is the opening of overseas trade offices (OTOs), including offices all around the world. Our plan from inception was to establish offices in 18 target markets. We have been successful in three so far: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and India. The Indian office was opened five years ago. It was originally based in New Delhi, but was relocated to Mumbai due to the nature of trade exchange, value, and volume between the UAE and India. India is our primary trading partner and the reverse is also the case, which makes for a mutually beneficial relationship. We believe that the office assists UAE companies in increasing their exports and trade as the first point of contact for both the newcomers and existing groups, which are generally large communities of Indian businesspeople located in the UAE. Our office will provide market and product studies for their products, as well as information on India, the origin markets of imports, and will assist in ascertaining why these products are not being sourced from the UAE. We promote services from Dubai such as IT, healthcare, and education, as well as conventional and Islamic finance. These are the main aspects to the office, in addition to which it also plays venue to regular exhibitions and conferences, and is a general resource for commercial information. Yet its most important role is to invite buyers from India, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and introduce them to our exporters.

What are your plans for 2014 toward opening the remainder of your 15 target markets?

We have second-phase targets and are considering Germany as a base to cover Europe, East Africa, and Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

How do you work with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to promote Dubai?

DTCM is active in promoting Dubai as a tourism hub along with its various attractions. It started a long time before we did, and has fully established approximately 18 to 20 offices around the world. We have occasionally coordinated with it, which led to the setting up of our Saudi Arabia and Egypt offices. Indeed, our office in Mumbai was also completed with its assistance.

What partnerships are you planning for 2014?

The Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Dubai Airport Free Zone, and Dubai World Central will hopefully become our partners this year, as their assets could help us meet our objectives. These zones are attracting investment, and we help these companies to grow, find new markets, and connect them with exhibitions and conferences. We will replicate our successes in India. Logistics, warehousing, and forwarding are important elements of promoting and facilitating trade. That is why we coordinate with Emirates SkyCargo, and why we partner with the free zones. When we enter specific countries, we take some of our key partners with us. The last time we went to Kazakhstan we took 30 companies. In Qatar we had 140 companies with us. In some missions, we only take major partners. For example, when we went to South America, we only went with the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai World Central, and Emirates Airlines.

How will the Al Maktoum International Airport impact trade in Dubai?

Al Maktoum International Airport will have an important effect on trade as a result of its sheer size. The site will offer strong coordination for the sea-air corridor. The port, free zone, and airport are already connected, so for anyone with a shipment going from sea to air, or vice versa, they only require one item of documentation. The speed of these processes will prove attractive for overseas and domestic businessmen alike, and this area has much potential for increasing the trade out of Dubai as a result. It will be a comprehensive trade cluster, with its Aviation City, Logistics City, and warehousing components.



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