MUSCAT, June 26 – His Highness Sayyid Asaad bin Tareq al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan, received at his office on Tuesday Dr Mohammad Shariatmadari, Iranian Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade, Head of the Iranian side at the Omani-Iranian Joint Committee, and his delegation, currently visiting the Sultanate.
The meeting reviewed aspects of the existing bilateral relations between the Sultanate and Iran, particularly in the field of commercial and industrial cooperation and means of enhancing them, as well as several topics of common concern.
The meeting was attended by Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, the Iranian ambassador to the Sultanate, and a number of officials.
Meanwhile, Oman and Iran on Tuesday signed agreements aimed at bolstering trade relations and easing bilateral exports/imports as part of the 17th round of the Omani-Iranian Joint Committee meeting.
Speaking to the Observer, Dr Al Sunaidy said the agreement will cover “multimodal areas of business” between the two countries.
“Oman and Iran share long, strong and sustainable trade and commerce relations, besides other bilateral transactions. The MoU we have signed with Iran will help in ease of doing business for investors from both countries,” the minister said.
The MoU envisages new veterinary and agricultural quarantine facilities for trading in clean and healthy meat between the two countries.
Both nations have a diverse spectrum of interests covering education, health, automotive, transport and mining.
“We are happy to sign an MoU with Oman for cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, investment, transport, communications, minerals, oil and gas, manpower and agriculture, besides cooperation between the Governorate of Musandam and Hormozgan in Iranian province,” said Dr Mohammad Shariatmadari.
Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs, delivered the opening speech followed by a trade/business speech by Dr Sunaidy. Qais bin Mohammed Yousuf, representing Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shed light on business and economic trends in the Sultanate. Oman imports some kinds of metals from Iran for factories in Suhar, while the import of fruits and vegetables has grown manifold in the past few years.
An MoU was also signed between the Omani Export Credit Guarantee Agency (Credit Oman) and the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI).
“This is a framework agreement for both institutions to assist their customers/exporters to increase trade between the two countries,” said Imaad bin Saud al Harthy, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Credit Oman.
“We are looking at guaranteeing credit support for our industries and support Omani investors who like to venture into Iran. Likewise, EGFI will help Iranian investors entering Oman,” he said.
Iranian investors will be able to take part in tenders in Oman, according to the MoU. Under this framework, both organisations will be able to support their respective investors.
These MoUs are a major step forward in safeguarding the interests of investors, exporters and importers. “We are hopeful these MoUs will further bolster our trade and commerce relations,” Mohammad R Bakhtvar, Economic Counsellor, Embassy of Iran, Muscat, said.
The Iranian side expressed its desire to cooperate with the Omani side through joint investment in the field of steel and spongy iron, as well as establishing joint ventures in the field of geology and minerals.
It is noteworthy to mention that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2017 stood at about RO 422.4 million. Omani exports to Iran amounted to RO 7.29 million. The total imports of Oman from Iran stood at RO 192.7 million.
The total number of Iranian companies having investments in the Sultanate reached 294 and the value of investments by these companies stood at about RO 54.3 million of which the Omani side contributes 57.3 per cent of the total invested capital.
Dr Sunaidy said that there is a constant growth in the volume of direct trade exchange between the Sultanate and Iran during the past four years.
He said that the Port of Sohar is playing a great role in trade exchange between the two countries, either for Omani exports or Iranian imports.
He added that the Sultanate’s airports are witnessing remarkable movement of traffic, and the number of destinations covered by Oman Air is growing over the past two years.
He said that many Iranian businessmen are currently using Muscat International Airport for their flights to Asia and Europe.
(With ONA inputs)
KABEER YOUSUF & MAI AL ABRIA