Businesses from across Oman came together this week on Sohar Freezone and at the National Business Centre on Knowledge Oasis Muscat to discuss accessing new international markets.
Organised by Ithraa, Oman’s inward investment and export promotion agency, the Suhar and Muscat workshops were led by trade experts from Ithraa, Shamal Plastic Industries, and Data Mining.
The two full-day workshops focused on accessing new markets in the broadest sense of the word — through launching a new product, going to a new country or continent or expanding within the GCC. The panellists discussed the best routes to these markets, taking risks, lessons learned, setting up with a local partner and how to deal with bureaucracy in these areas.
As part of Ithraa’s long-running Trade Up workshop programme, the Suhar and Muscat sessions were designed to help existing as well as potential Omani exporters network and guide them on how to improve their exports or export for the first time.
“We’ve been running Trade Up sessions for a few years and they’ve proven popular with manufacturers and exporters of all sizes. In particular, we understand that small Omani companies require assistance expanding into foreign markets due to their own internal constraints and perceived trade barriers. Indeed, it’s our job to demystify exporting and international trade and this is exactly what we did this week in Suhar and Muscat,” remarked Nasima al Balushi, Ithraa’s Director General of Export Development & Inward Investment. When it comes to exploiting new markets through exports, Oman has its fair share of international success, from car batteries and fibre optic cables to marble and sanitary ware.
But given that two thirds of growth in global trade is coming from new entrants, there is a constant demand for business advice and support in breaking into the world’s high-growth market economies and overcoming barriers
“Exporting is of course fundamentally a decision driven by local businesses. But, firms attempting to close an export sale can face hurdles, including lack of readily available information about exporting, market data as well as strong competition from foreign companies. This is where Ithraa’s staff and services play such an important role. We help Omani businesses assess export opportunities, from developing a plan, identifying buyers and markets, advising on regulations to managing logistics. Our goal is to provide everything an ambitious Omani company needs to succeed in today’s global economy,” explained Nasima.