Expanding Your Business in the Middle East

Ms. Kara K. Martin's Franchises and Franchising Legal Blogs

Licensed for 8 years

Attorney in Salt Lake City, UT

One
of the hottest places to expand a franchise internationally is the Middle East.
This is due to several factors, most among them is the fact that the area is very
wealthy and is eager to expand its U.S. brand presence. Since the 1990’s
several U.S. based franchises have expanded into Kuwait with further expansion
in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the last 5-10 years.

Many
small businesses are seeking the international expansion route in the Middle
East as a source of expanding their revenue stream. This week, Bloomberg
Business Week provided a look at how small businesses are taking advantage of
the opportunities in the Middle East (see http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-21/small-u-dot-s-dot-franchises-head-to-the-middle-east).
While
there is a great opportunity for expansion in the Middle East, there are some
precautions that a business owner should keep in mind. First, if your business
is in the food industry, you will likely have to comply with Halal
Certification which regulates the preparation of food and meats. Most countries
in the Middle East do not have franchise specific laws and regulations, which
opens the business owner up to compliance commercial agency laws and in many
instances, Shari’a Law as well.
If
you are seeking to expand your business into the Middle East, it is recommended
that you have both U.S. based and Middle East based (country specific) legal
counsel. Together, your legal team can help you prepare for the complexities of
international expansion and to comply with the various laws and regulations
that can affect your brand from trademark registration to Shari’a Law
compliance.

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