Opportunities in Saudi Arabia for Northern Ireland Companies

Invest Northern Ireland is taking a Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait 01 - 06 November.

The six day mission will focus on Jeddah and Kuwait City.

Export advice and guidance

Our expert Trade Team in Belfast will be on-hand with advice and guidance to help you prepare for the mission. We will also make use of our Invest NI office in Jeddah who can provide tailored market research and arrange individual appointments for your company. The cost of this service is heavily subsidised by Invest NI.

Saudi Arabia - Market

Saudi Arabia has an oil based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. The kingdom possesses around 25% of the worlds proven oil reserves and plays a leading role in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The Saudi government has announced major infrastructure, healthcare and education projects to keep the country at the forefront of regional economic development.

Benefits for Northern Ireland businesses exporting to Saudi Arabia include:

  • UK's largest trading partner in the Middle East
  • £100million of Northern Ireland exports go to Saudi Arabia
  • Northern Ireland companies have a good reputation in Saudi Arabia
  • Common use of English in businesses
  • Growing diversification within the Saudi economy
  • Massive government investment in transport, infrastructure, healthcare, education and energy

Strengths of the Saudi Arabian market include:

  • The largest population of any GCC country
  • Growing market for Northern Ireland food and beverage
  • Strong local support from the Invest NI office in Jeddah
  • Proximity to other Gulf Markets
  • Key member of the Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Largest economy in the Gulf region, many major infrastructure projects


Saudi Arabia offers opportunities, particularly in sectors such as:

  • Transport
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Defence
  • Security
  • Water

Things to think about

  • Visit the market frequently, plan and budget for three visits per year
  • This is not an email society, business is conducted face to face
  • Your company will need to devote time to make personal business contacts; business is secured by trust and personal friendships
  • There are increasing opportunities for quality Northern Ireland food and healthcare exports
  • You must appoint a Saudi agent to conduct trading activities if you do not have a physical presence in the Kingdom
  • You must have a physical presence in Saudi Arabia to be directly involved in the buying and selling of goods. Under Saudi investment law the establishment of a physical presence requires a joint venture with a Saudi partner
  • Islamic Law (Shari'ah) is the law of the land in all cases
  • Saudi Arabia has been a member of the World Trade Organisation since 2005 and has introduced new legislation increasing the level of protection for intellectual property
  • The working week is Sunday to Thursday

Take part in the Trade Mission

Find out more about our Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait