Middle East Association re-launched in London
London, May 14, 2014
The Middle East Association (MEA), the UK’s leading business forum promoting trade with Mena, was recently re-launched at an event in London attended by more than 50 supporters including Arab and British ambassadors to the Mena region.
The Middle East Association’s Relaunch Reception held at the Royal Over-Seas League sent a strong message that the Association - which has guided British companies to success in the Mena region for over 50 years - is firmly back in business, with longstanding MEA member Peter Meyer taking on the role of CEO.
The gathering was addressed by the Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State at the Department for International Development, who paid tribute to the valuable role played by the Association particularly in view of the Government’s focus on elevating relations with the Gulf since 2010 and the historic relationship with the region.
“The number of ambassadors present illustrates the importance of this relaunch. I wish you well and hope you may increase your membership and expand your reach,” Duncan said.
Khaled Al-Duwaisan, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, acknowledged the Association’s contribution towards furthering relations between the UK and the region. “We will do our best to support the association,” he added.
Meyer outlined the association’s plans for the future as it looks forward to its next 50 years.
“We would like to intensify our discussions with yourselves to see how we can address your concerns and tailor our work more closely to your requirements,” he said.
“We hope to reach out to you, your embassies and key institutions with visits here in London and also to your countries and regions,” he added, noting that the association would make itself available to host incoming missions.
The MEA aims to increase its membership to become more representative and in particular is looking to broaden its reach throughout the UK to assist skilled SMEs in the regions to grow their Mena business, Meyer said.
“And while it will continue to pursue an ambitious trade mission programme, there will be a particular focus on encouraging a stronger UK presence at key trade fairs in the Mena region. The Association will improve and modernise the way it works to keep up with the challenges of a fast changing world, and will soon be moving to smaller and more modern premises not far from its current location in St James’s,” he added.
“There is a great deal of work to be done and your support is very welcome,” he concluded.
No-one attending the event could fail to be struck by the palpable atmosphere of warmth and goodwill towards the Middle East Association, which has been overwhelmed by the groundswell of support and good wishes from its members and contacts following its financial difficulties and takeover. As one member comments “Trade with the Arab world will never flourish without the key role the MEA has been playing in this area,” while another who has recently joined testifies, “The impact you have had on our business already has been immeasurable.”
The Middle East Association, established in 1961 and based in London is an independent, not-for-profit, trade association whose members span all business and industry sectors.
The Mena region accounted for GBP22.3 billion ($37.5 billion) of UK exports in 2013, up from GBP16.1 billion in 2012, according to HMRC statistics. – TradeArabia News Service