Go East, young man! (that is, the Middle East)
Anyway, today, it probably seems like all the new frontiers providing possibilities and mystique are gone, except for outer space. But Larry Harding, the president of High Street Partners, thinks otherwise. Harding's company specializes in helping small and medium-sized American businesses expand their operations into other countries by helping them comply with local income tax filings and offering monthly international payroll and a million other things that go into running a business overseas.
And if there's one piece of geography on the planet that this Horace Greeley of the 21st century thinks enterprises and entrepreneurs should be rushing to establish residence, it's the United Arab Emirates.
That was the 1970s, and it was a fairly progressive nation then and becoming something of an international hub for the Middle East. Now, it's booming, still forward-thinking, and almost as well known for its international finance and tourism industries as its oil.
So I wasn't surprised when Harding told me that U.A.E., particularly Dubai, is the place to be if you want your business to participate in the global economy.
His top three reasons why?
- The country is in the midst of creating the "Hong Kong of the Middle East." It has very business-friendly taxes, says Harding, and an "ecosystem" that supports commerce.
- The U.A.E. in particular is opening up for trade, "with an enormous backlog of technology and infrastructure needs to "catch up" with the rest of the world."
- "Petro-dollars!" exhorts Harding. Meaning that it has oil, which means that it also has a lot of money, and happily, its government likes us, and the people there want to spend it on American goods and services.
It's nice to know that there's a silver lining in every cloud, even if that lining is oil.