From 31 October to 6 November, eight construction companies from Latvia will participate in the Construction Trade Mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Its aim is to attract the attention of potential cooperation partners and develop various cooperation opportunities both in the Middle East and globally. On 1 November, Latvian entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to attend the EXPO Business Forum, which includes several networking events.
The Construction Trade Mission will bring together eight Latvian manufacturers of building materials and providers of construction services – both experienced companies and those still finding their way in the global market: ‘AW Latvia’, a manufacturer of wooden furniture and wall coverings; ‘Artehus’, a developer of digital solutions; ‘Silk Plaster Group’, a manufacturer of finishing materials; ‘Controlit Factory’, a developer of innovative waterproofing testing solutions; ‘Primekss’, a company that lays industrial concrete floors; ‘ITED’, a 3D building modelling, 3D scanning and consulting company; ‘Wood ART.lv’, a manufacturer of furniture, stairs, windows, doors and other interior elements and parquet manufacturer ‘Riga Parket’.
“Some of these companies have already gained some experience in the Middle East, but for most of them this market is an uncharted territory. Our aim in this trade mission is to find potential cooperation partners, expand our business opportunities and get to know the business environment and mentality of the Middle East, so this could be a very interesting experience,” says Kaspars Abiks, Head of the Export Promotion Division at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).
He adds that the main difference between the Middle East and Scandinavia which is the primary export market for the Latvian construction industry, is that here everything is done according to a plan, whereas the Gulf region is a very dynamic environment. “This is what we see now, as we work on the programme and look for potential business partners for our companies. The principle of “doing in the last-minute and going with the flow” seems to be working here, which is not always a bad thing, as it allows us to achieve the result quickly,” says Kaspars Abiks.
Several of the companies taking part in the trade mission have already gained experience with the Dubai audience at THE BIG 5, the construction fair held as part of the EXPO in mid-September, as well as at fairs during the previous years. LIAA says that, compared to a trade mission, work at international fairs doesn’t require much involvement from the companies. Kaspars Abiks explains that it is good if they have done their homework and approached potential partners before the fair, but they can also rely on luck, as these events are also attended by many random visitors who are interested in the relevant product category. However, before going on a trade mission, you need to know who your counterparts will be and you need to target them, taking into account their preferences and needs in a given market.
“Innovative building materials produced in Latvia are well represented in our pavilion: there are ‘Groglass’ solutions, which really surprise many people, as well as the beautiful wall panels and fittings by ‘Wooden Wall Design’, office furnishings designed by ‘Riga Chair Factory’. One of the industry leaders ‘Latvijas Finieris’, also stands out. Its products are used in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai. We have started negotiations with several national pavilions, mostly from Europe, with whom we cooperate. Next week is the Urban Planning and Development thematic week, which means that construction and development solutions will be on the agenda throughout the EXPO territory. The mission will also include individual meetings with local entrepreneurs, and one of the UAE’s largest retailers of construction materials ‘Danube’ will attend the Latvian pavilion,” Inga Ulmane, Head of the LIAA Representative Office in the United Arab Emirates, outlines the main events of the trade mission.