Towards internationalization: exploring economic diplomacy in the Middle East (GCC)

Daniel Pontes, Vasco Santos*, Orlando Samões, Shuangao Wang, Ronnie Figueiredo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Internationalization is a crucial process for companies seeking growth and expansion in foreign markets, especially in the Middle East, where economies have been developing and diversifying business opportunities, seeing it as an attractive destination to expand their operations. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the internationalization process of economic diplomacy by exploring the experiences of renowned Portuguese companies within the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries are integral players in the Middle East market, characterized as rentier states that are heavily reliant on oil and gas revenues and possess varying levels of economic and military strength, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE being the most prominent. The focus group method was applied in the qualitative research. It contributes to reinforcing the literature on internationalization processes, economic diplomacy, and the Middle East market. The findings provide valuable guidance to Portuguese companies, policymakers, and economic diplomats involved in promoting and facilitating international trade and investment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Economic diplomacy
  • Focus group
  • Gulf cooperation council
  • Internationalization
  • Middle east


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