The Barnett Group

Solving Trade Problems for Global Brands


For 20 years, The Barnett Group (TBG) has offered a sophisticated, knowledge-based approach to solving trade problems for its clients. In representing Fortune 100 companies, TBG has saved millions of dollars for its clients by advocating against market barriers through its huge network both in Washington and the Middle East- North Africa (MENA) region.

Dubai Skyline Business Center

Our Formula:  Do the policy analysis, map out the most critical stakeholders, prepare advocacy papers, set up meetings with senior officials, repeat, and repeat again until we achieve success.

Specializing in the MENA, the Barnett Group uses global access, local presence, and a Washington, D.C. base. As a lawyer, former senior U.S. government official, trade consultant, law professor and public affairs specialist, Judith Barnett and her team can assist your firm in:

  • Identifying, analyzing, and overcoming trade and governmental regulatory barriers
  • Developing a dynamic strategy, an Action Plan, and timetables for growth
  • Establishing viable networks throughout foreign and U.S. governments for clients to work with directly
  • Identifying strategic opportunities for growth and new markets and
  • Monitoring economic, political and commercial activities in the MENA region for early warning systems.

Barriers that The Barnett Group have worked on and/or resolved include:

  • Taxes — discriminatory excise, VAT;
  • Customs clearance/ delays;
  • Product registration and testing; — simplify procedures;
  • Duplicative and complex filing requirements;
  • Bans of products;
  • Labeling;
  • Advertising;
  • Standards;
  • Regulatory system irregularities;
  • Protective laws and regulations (local ownership vs. foreign investment);
  • Corruption;
  • Adequate foreign exchange.


The MENA region has over 411 million people, is growing at a rate that is three times the world average, and has Internet penetration of 67.2 % (11% higher than the world average).  The region is a young and vibrant market. The region has 50% of the world’s known oil reserves and untapped human resources. Over the next decade, companies that plan strategically and monitor closely will see far more growth in this region than in many other developed and developing markets.

The MENA region has 19 countries, each with its own set of opportunities and challenges for multinational corporations. To succeed in the region, companies must have a Government Relations strategy that can monitor potential barriers and a network that can move expeditiously to provide cost-effective results.

Dubai Trade Consultant

How We Can Help

Trade barriers appear at unexpected times and places. These problems can include unwarranted customs duties, unpredictable and discriminatory tax laws and regulations, ad hoc product standards, bans on important product lines, irregular court actions, protective regulations and legislation, and misuse of bi-national and multinational trade agreements.

The Barnett Group monitors trade in the Middle East each day for its clients, and provides early warning systems for impending commercial problems. We have vast networks and decades of worldwide experience in counteracting trade issues, a broad knowledge of trade systems and the people who manage them, and a proven record of success.

Interested in our services? Contact Us Today!


A few successful projects that the Barnett Group has worked on:

Reduced –

Tariffs from 25-30% to 0-10% for a multi-billion food company’s Middle East operations while initiating the elimination of product bans and providing early warning on ever-present regulatory and legislative problems.

Averted –

A $15 million issue in taxes, wrongly claimed by a MENA government, with $ 6 billion each year going forward, for a $60 billion, consumer products company.

A lawsuit which included a spurious criminal charge against general manager and a $ 20 million tariff claim.

Bans on ingredients in products, saving millions of dollars for client company by allowing the use of necessary inputs.

Created –

A strategy to eliminate $300,000 in daily losses for the subsidiary of a Fortune 50 company.

Secured –

Millions of dollars in investment incentives — including land sites, tariff rates, import of capital equipment and raw materials —  from the Government of Egypt to build a new manufacturing plant, now generating $400 million in revenue.

Initiated –

A product registration process for global cosmetics company, ensuring the availability of hundreds of products each year in a new MENA market for the company. This action enabled thousands of women to build small businesses.

A survey of senior managers and local partners to determine the trade barriers they were encountering and steps that the company should be taking to end barriers and save money for the company.

Developed –

Corporate Social Responsibility programs which enabled companies to partner with MENA governments while extending food, training, education, and medical programs for needy citizens.

Market entry program for client, including meetings with numerous ministers and business organizations, to allow reduced tariffs on imports, intellectual property protection, and tax incentives for the new business/ investments.

Negotiated –

A joint venture agreement for a large international MENA high-tech fund with a U.S. telecommunications company.


Articles by Judith

  • America’s Best Endgame in the Middle East: Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs

    With the constant turmoil in the Middle East, be it the horrific beheading of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff by the terrorist organization the Islamic State or news reports showing the ruins of Gaza, it is crucial for the U.S. Government to give a lot more thought to the end game. Read the Full Article Here - via The Huffington Post.
  • Can America Finally Support a Courageous Ally in the Middle East?

    “I say and repeat again, we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move... because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost — and it is being lost by our own hands.” — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Read the Full Article Here - via The Huffington Post
  • An American Outrage: Having Babies on Sick Leave

    In his sixth State of the Union speech last night, President Barack Obama asked a joint session of Congress to pass measures that would allow federal workers to earn up to six weeks of paid sick time a year that could be used as paid family leave. Read the Full Article Here - via The Huffington Post
  • The Middle East needs a Marshall Plan

    On Oct. 12, representatives from international donor countries meeting in Cairo pledged $5.4 billion to help reconstruct Gaza after nearly two months of war between Hamas and Israel this summer. Barack Obama’s administration pledged to contribute $212 million, doubling U.S. aid to the Palestinians this year. Read the Full Article Here - via Al Jazeera
  • "Death of the Internet" Brings Dilemmas for Multinational Boards

    National Internets also could severely limit and damage the flourishing online shopping industry, according to international business consultant Judith Barnett. That portion of the U.S. economy is estimated at $1.5 trillion this year.
  • Whither the Women’s Movement?

    Despite massive gains in the 20th century, the women’s movement has reached a stalemate in the 21st. How to move forward? William Barnett, my paternal grandfather, came to America in 1910, and became a union organizer with the International Cap Makers Union.
  • Interview with Judith Barnett

    Definitely my best career decision was going to law school. I moved to Washington in the early 1970s, as a doctor’s wife in the suburbs. A few years later I found myself to be a divorced mom with a wonderful two year old daughter and a teacher’s degree. I was unclear how I would be able to support my daughter and myself on a teacher’s certificate.
  • Candidates a wedge issue for mother and daughter

    Judith Barnett and her daughter, Miriam Vogel, both spent the days before the New Hampshire primary as campaign volunteers, but stayed in separate towns and didn't cross paths. That was probably for the best, since Barnett was working for Hillary Clinton and Vogel for Barack Obama, and their relationship had turned a little frosty.
  • Hillary Clinton at the Diner

    There was a deafening moment of silence this week, a moment when no one knew whether to move or to stand still in time. Last Monday, at the Café Espresso in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, we could barely comprehend what we were hearing, much less its impact on history.
  • Not Quite the U.S. of Arabia

    An event attended by Judith Barnett, printed in the Chicago Tribune April 24, 2005. Judith was invited to Saudi Arabia for an `open and honest dialogue,' an American woman finds unofficial, private talks focus on cultural change.
  • Outside view: Mothers' Day musings

    Washington, DC, May. 7 (UPI) -- I was feeling on top of the world this week when I opened the wonderful Mother's Day gift that my daughter and new son-in-law had sent by express mail. Three books and accompanying cards all sent with such thought and sensitivity.
  • Remembering Marla

    Marla Ruzicka died last Saturday in Iraq. While she wasn’t a household name, this 28-year-old single-handedly did the work of an entire army in assisting the forgotten victims of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • A Mind-Bending Venture into Saudi Gender Politics

    As a Commerce Department official doing trade advocacy work during the Clinton administration, and now as a private consultant and lawyer, I had concluded that I could best help my clients by working in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Qatar, Morocco and ABS.