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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Visit to expand trade, investment links

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MUSCAT: The Sultanate of Oman and the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, are witnessing economic and investment cooperation in various fields.


Last July, the two brotherly countries affirmed their strive towards mutual investment in advanced technology, innovation, renewable energy, industry, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, real estate development, tourism, petrochemicals, manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, IT technology and financial technology (fintech).


The serious desire of the two brotherly countries to bolster economic ties was reflected in cooperation through mutual visits by officials and businessmen over the past five months.


In August the two countries held the Omani-Saudi Investment Forum in Muscat. The forum came out with a number of results that included the signing of a memorandum of understanding that aimed at strengthening and encouraging mutual investments. A number of agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed during the forum between Omani and Saudi businessmen.


The Omani-Saudi Business Council, which held a joint meeting last August in Muscat, seeks to bolster trade and investment relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as developing the mechanisms and requirements for enhancing intra-trade between the two brotherly countries, accelerating economic integration, enhancing trade cooperation and raising the rate of investment opportunities between the two countries.


Ridha bin Juma al Saleh, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said that the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to the Sultanate of Oman carries great significance on several bilateral levels.


In comments to Oman News Agency (ONA), the chairman of OCCI said that the visit reflects firm fraternal ties between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and comes as a translation of the strong bonds between the two countries and their peoples. Those bond include mutual interests and the regional and international status of both countries as they are basic members of the GCC bloc and major players in promoting joint Arab action. Besides, the two countries have similar strategic economic plans (Oman Vision 2040 and Saudi Vision 2030) which aim at boosting comprehensive development and economic diversification.


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The chairman of OCCI affirmed that the statistics indicate an upward trend in terms of trade exchange between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which stood at RO 960 million in 2020, more than double the figure for 2010 (RO 461 million). The statistics for the first quarter of this year show an increase in the volume of trade exchange between the Sultanate of Oman and Saudi Arabia which grew by 14.89 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching RO 265.4 million.


The private sector’s ambition to boost trade exchange comes as a translation of the strong relationship between the two countries, a trend that is encouraged by the leaderships of both countries. This trend is supported by the fact that the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have great prospects for a steady rise in the volume of trade exchange during the upcoming period as a result of the growing relations and the common goals to achieve economic integration. The opening of the land road linking the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have a positive impact in facilitating trade exchange and increasing its flow, the official said.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comes in second place in the list of importers of Omani non-oil exports, fourth in terms of re-exports, and fifth in the list of countries from which the Sultanate imports. KSA also ranks fourth globally in fish imports from the Sultanate of Oman. KSA is a strategic partner in a number of economic projects established in the Sultanate of Oman, including the development of Khazaen Economic City, an Omani-Saudi partnership project that was established in 2018. KSA also established partnership with the Sultanate of Oman in the energy sector through the Ibri 2 projects, the largest solar power project in the Sultanate and the Salalah 2 project, as well as Salalah Independent Water Desalination Plant, all these projects are in partnership with ACWA Power Saudi Arabia, the official said.


The chairman of OCCI noted that the visit made by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented a strong stepping point towards achieving economic integration between the two countries. An indicator of this is the signing of a number of agreements during the visit and the emphasis on raising the pace of economic cooperation between the two countries. This can be achieved by stimulating the public and private sectors to reach qualitative trade and investment exchanges that achieve the aspirations of the two peoples and contribute to realising the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and Oman Vision 2040 and through launching a set of joint initiatives that include areas of cooperation including investments in Duqm, cooperation in energy field, and partnership in the fields of food security, and cooperation in various cultural, sports and tourism activities, the official said.


The chairman of OCCI noted that Omani-Saudi Business Council is striving to boost trade and investments between the Sultanate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by improving the mechanisms and requirements for enhancing intra-trade between the two brotherly countries. The council plans to expedite economic integration, enhance commercial cooperation, increase the rate of investment opportunities between the two countries by investing in petrochemical, mining and logistics projects. — ONA


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