Entering new markets can always be a tough challenge to overcome, especially if it’s on different countries; several studies must be done to determine customs and norms of each place, in the case of Mexico, there’s already an ever-growing presence thanks to different brands that have successfully been placed on Arabic store shelves; products like beef, chilly, spicy sauces and beans are winning over terrain in the United Arab Emirates with each passing moment.
Plus there are other companies like Cemex (a concrete producer company) are already selling their products and focusing on Egypt’s market and KidZania has entertainment centers for kids fully operational in Jeddah, Kuwait and Dubai.
Numbers were incredibly promising on 2015; Mexican exports to the countries of the Arab States League grossed over 1,275 million dollars, while imports reached over 685 million dollars according to the official numbers released by ProMexico.
Nevertheless, Mexican businessmen have taken precautions when it comes of moving inside the market, they’ve taken to account crucial factors like politics, which is a subject that’ll provide a great advantage over the competition if they’re truly ahead on who’s the elite:
“We have to acknowledge the fact that the Saud Family pretty much owns the country, so it is a big deal for a Mexican businessman to frequently check and understand who’s who within ministries and family members. A businessman needs to be constantly checking for any sudden changes or political disputes” explains scholar of Tec de Monterrey Valencia Bastida to Forbes.
Another main factor to cope is culture, and a prime example of this is the celebration of Ramadan. During this time of year, everyone works from 9 am to 1 pm every day; they fast on mornings; pray during the day and eat until 6 pm, day finishes usually around 3 to 4 am (restaurants are open until this late too). Cepeda Gutiérrez from ProMexico considers this custom “makes work very inefficient, because the most important part of the process is the fasting, the giving, donating things to charity and to make good deeds” so every negotiation has to be scheduled before or after this holiday.
Another issue that surfaced was women in business, these regions still keep the business world women free, you could say there’s an ongoing silent sexism when compared to Mexico, who has no issues whatsoever with women in business or as part of a staff.
Although not everything is an obstacle halting the process to enter this new market, the part that eases in the incursion process it’s the issue that there’s not a barrier between local producers and foreign products, primarily because the Middle-East lacks the former. This means there are no local companies that will pose a threat to business newcomers.
Having these issues into mind, the Mexican business man is left only with the concern of learning how the process of labeling works, the one that will certificate the products’ origins, these processes are fairly different from other parts of the world such as U.S.A and Europe. There are 12 successful companies in existence on the Middle-East and most of them commercializes with food. Experts say there’s room for immense potential, especially in the agriculture sector with products like meat, fruits, vegetables, coffee, tomato, lemon, gum, organic food, seasonings, snacks and even tuna fish.
In short, business relationships with the Middle-East are solidifying, this will be convenient for both parts when the FIFA World Cup 2022 which will open a window of business opportunities especially for Mexicans. For now, ProMexico has settled a new agreement with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy who will be in charge of this major event and will allow Mexican companies to provide products and services. Mexico opens a new door that will unleash a ton of business opportunities with one of the strongest markets in the world.