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Additional States Offering Grants to SEMA Members Attending Middle East Business Development Conference

By Kristin Atwan

Each company paticipating in the SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference is provided with a turnkey booth at the Custom Show Emirates. In 2016, exhibitors in the SEMA section met with pre-vetted trade buyers who traveled to the event from 10 countries.

In addition to the previously announced funding by the State of California, five more states have confirmed the availability of grants to qualified companies to participate in the SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference, to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), March 28–April 1, 2017. The program includes a turnkey booth at the Custom Show Emirates, four nights’ hotel and meals. The state funds are in addition to the $900 provided by the federal U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

States confirmed to have funds to defray participation costs include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio

2017 SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference event schedule:

March 28: Briefing with U.S. government officials, buyer panel.
March 29: Visit accessory, performance and off-road retailers and wholesalers. Evening networking event with buyers.
March 30: SEMA section at the Custom Show Emirates open only to pre-vetted trade buyers.
March 31: SEMA measuring session demonstration. SEMA section open to all.
April 1: Options: Exhibit for an additional day, private meetings with buyers, depart for the United States.

Five reasons to consider the Middle East markets:

1. Deep pockets. The UAE has one of the world’s highest per-capita (ranking sixth worldwide) disposable incomes, and thus the funds to pursue hobbies.
2. Important market for U.S.-built vehicles. The Saudi Arabian market is the fifth top market for U.S. vehicle sales and the UAE market ranks eighth. All six of the GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are in the top 20 destinations for U.S.-made vehicles.
3. Positive perception of U.S. products and culture. In a nod to the popularity of U.S. culture in the region and the recognition that the UAE has a strong enthusiast base, the Fast and Furious 7 was filmed in the UAE. TV car customizing shows, such as “Pimp My Ride” and “Overhaulin’,” attracted big audiences
4. Very strong car culture and also a multi-car-per-family culture. The UAE has the most motorsports facilities per capita in the world. Off-roading (primarily on sand) is a national pastime, and the UAE’s national day would not be complete without an all-out classic-car display and parade including customized vehicles.
5. Similar to the United States market, light trucks are extremely popular in the Middle East. In fact, half of the passenger vehicles on Middle East roads are light trucks, with the Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Ford Explorer and Jeep among the top-selling SUVs. Top pickups include the Toyota HiLux, Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-Series, among others.

View a copy of the 2016 SEMA Middle East post-show report.

Watch a video of the 2016 trip.

Read the flyer for the 2017 trip.

Register now for the 2017 SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference.

To learn more about all of SEMA’s overseas trips, including the March 28–April 1 trip to the Middle East, the May 23–27 SEMA Business Development Program to Australia and the September trip to China, contact Linda Spencer at lindas@sema.org