EghtesadOnline: The governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnasser Hemmati, is visiting Oman to discuss ways to expand banking relations between the two Persian Gulf neighbors.
He met Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi on Tuesday and the two sides expressed interest in new avenues for building bilateral financial and businesses ties, the CBI news website reported.
Iran’s trade with Oman grew from $221 million in fiscal 2013-14 to $1.16 billion last year (March 2019-20). Exports to the sultanate rose from $146 million in March 2013-14 to $728 million last year while imports a year ago reached $433 million.
Back in 2017, the two central banks signed an agreement to prepare the groundwork for elevating banking ties and link the national payment systems to help ease bilateral transactions.
As per the agreement, the two countries' banking payment networks were supposed to be connected through a switch system for the access of Iranian and Oman bank card holders to ATMs.
It was also decided that branches of Iranian banks in Muscat resume operations. Bank Melli has one branch and Bank Saderat has two branches in the Omani capital.
The latest talks come in the wake of expected changes in US’ hostile Iran policies under Donald Trump. In a note posted on Twitter, the CBI public relations office said Hemmati's talks with Omani officials would be "in light of new international developments." It did not elaborate.
Iran has been under tough US sanctions since Trump, the confrontational former president, in 2018 pulled Washington out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Trump lost his job to his Democratic rival Joe Biden who has pledged to rejoin the deal if Iran complies with all its commitments under the JCPOA.
Hemmati is scheduled to confer with the head of the Central Bank of Oman and the minister of Industries and Trade during his two-day visit.