EghtesadOnline: Underlining the importance Oman places on Iran as a trade partner, the management of Ithraa, Oman’s investment promotion and export development agency, hosted 50 Iranian business representatives to discuss investment opportunities in Oman’s fast growing economy.
Led by senior Ithraa management and supported by government colleagues from the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates, Port of Duqm as well as Sohar Port and Free Zone, the Iranian delegation were given an opportunity to meet key manufacturing and logistics officials as well as learn about the benefits of setting up business operations in Oman, Muscat Daily reported on Tuesday.
“Today’s meetings and presentations were designed specifically to enhance dialogue between Oman and our Iranian counterparts, and capitalize on the existing trade and investment ties our two countries enjoy,” said Nasima Balushi, Ithraa’s director general for export development.
Iran is the second largest economy in the MENA region after Saudi Arabia, with an estimated GDP in 2017 of $439.5 billion and an economy that is expected to maintain a steady growth of slightly over 4% in 2018, according to Financial Tribune.
According to the Omani newspaper, Oman is an attractive proposition for Iranian investors. There is strong public and private sector leadership, as demonstrated by progress being made in terms of diversifying the economy as well as the success enjoyed by the sultanate’s tourism, manufacturing, logistics, fisheries and mining sectors.
“We are open for business and the government is committed to supporting non-oil Omani export growth and encouraging inward investment. Indeed, we are constantly improving our road, air and port networks, work that is clearly helping boost foreign investment in the sultanate. This is the message we delivered to our Iranian colleagues,” added Balushi.
PEIE, Port of Duqm and Sohar Port & Free Zone are recognized globally as dynamic, outward-looking organizations that are working hard to attract international investments, the daily added.
“Our ports, free zones and industrial estates have demonstrated over the years a strong track record of success which should give Iranian investors confidence in the strength of Oman’s economy and future prospects for the sultanate,” Balushi concluded.
Mohammad Shariatmadari, Iran’s Industries Minister, and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to Oman to attend the 17th round of Iran-Oman Economic Commission last month.
The two sides discussed developing bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, investment, transport, communications, minerals, oil and gas, manpower and agriculture between the Governorate of Musandam and the Iranian province of Hormozgan.
On the sidelines of the joint commission, an export financing agreement was signed to help boost trade between the two neighboring countries.
“By facilitating trade relations and mutual investments, the agreement could eliminate the need for the banking system [for trade transactions] and solve ongoing problems related to the issuance of export guarantees to a great extent,” said Arash Shahraini, a member of the board of directors and technical deputy of Export Guarantee Fund of Iran.
As per the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s data, Iran exported 1.74 million tons of commodities worth $520.71 million to Oman in the last Iranian year (March 2017-18), posting a 24.46% growth and a 4.28% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
The exports mainly included direct reduced iron, semi-finished metal, steel products, low-density oils and related products.
Oman exported 256,936 tons of goods worth $215.92 million to Iran during the period, up 186% and 107.06% in tonnage and value respectively YOY. Iran mainly imported benzene, pharmaceutical supplements and vehicles from Oman last year.
According to Iran’s Embassy in Oman, as many as 25 trade delegations from the private sector were exchanged between the commerce chambers of the two countries in the fiscal 2017-18.