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Oman-Saudi MoU to support new economic zone in Al Dhahirah

Strong momentum: 13 agreements signed against backdrop of Saudi-Oman Investment Forum
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The Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed a raft of agreements, including a Memorandum of Understanding to finance the construction of the infrastructure of a new integrated economic zone in Oman’s Al Dhahirah Governorate at a cost of around RO 100 million. In all, 13 agreements were signed between the two brotherly countries spanning a number of economic and commercial sectors, against the backdrop of the Saudi-Omani Investment Forum underway in Riyadh.

Later, in remarks to journalists, Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, Oman’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, stated that more than 100 companies from the two countries are also taking part in an exhibition being held in parallel with the forum.

Deliberations during the forum, Al Yousef said, have focused on the need for strengthening supply chains by encouraging Omani and Saudi industries to integrate based on their competitive strengths and capabilities. Through partnerships and integration, companies from one side can join hands with a potential partner from the other side to leverage their respective strengths, be it access to specific resources, technologies and expertise.

“For example, inputs for a certain product cane be sourced from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, value-added in Oman and re-exported to Saudi Arabia, and vice versa. We are looking for this type of cooperation in the industrial sector to help strengthen supply chains for the benefit of the two countries and for the wider economy,” he said.

Al Yousef also outlined the potential for Omani and Saudi companies to open branches of their operations in the other countries.

He added that the new land port established in The Empty Quarter on the border between the two countries has the potential to spur trade and commerce in the coming years. Boding well for this growth is a special investment fund announced recently by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia to support investments in the two countries, he noted.

According to Al Yousef, bilateral trade climbed 219 per cent during the first nine months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. Omani non-oil exports to Saudi Arabia totaled RO 659 million in 9M 2022, which was up 33.98 per cent over the corresponding figure for 2021. Saudi exports into Oman climbed to more than RO 1.270 billion during the same period.

Earlier, Eng Khalid Abdulaziz al Falih, Minister of Investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, stressed the importance of the private sector’s role in Oman and Saudi Arabia in pushing the wheel of development forward and acts as an active partner and contributor to the development of the economic, investment and trade sectors between the two countries. During the first half of 2022, bilateral trade had soared to 11.392 billion Saudi riyals, he said.

Activities of the forum included dialogue sessions to review prospects for promising investment sectors between the two countries, including: opportunities for integration in renewable energy and supply chains, tourism and real estate development, and other activities of common interest, which contribute to advancing and accelerating investment flows between the two sides.

On the sidelines of the forum, B2B meetings were held between representatives of the private sector in the two countries. The meetings discussed opportunities for cooperation and partnership and reviewed the available investment opportunities in the two countries.

Present at the opening of the forum were Dr Ali Masoud al Sunaidi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, HH Sayyid Faisal Turki al Said, Ambassador of Oman to Saudi Arabia, Faisal Abdullah al Rawas, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and dignitaries from Oman and Saudi Arabia.

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