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How to do business in the Gulf: part seven

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19 Expect bureaucracy

Visa requirements can be onerous and can cause hours of distraction dealing with Arab bureaucracy. Thoroughly research the local regulations regarding tourism, residential and employment visas, and get local advice wherever possible. Most big companies have PR officer to deal with these issues.   20 Favour the free zone

Free-zone locations are attractive areas to set up your business. They aim to obviate the need for a local business partner, simplify the visa process, and give you security of communications and infrastructure. Pioneered by Dubai, these are now becoming more common in other areas, too.

21 Pick your partner carefully

If you choose to run your business with a local partner – still obligatory in many centres – choose with care and on the basis of personal recommendation from established Western entrepreneurs. “If you have a dispute with local partners, there will only be one winner,” says Asian IT entrepreneur Nittin Parag.

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