Ithraa Chairman, Yahya al Jabri, will lead a high profile Omani trade delegation to Yinchuan next week to participate at the China – Arab States Expo and hold talks with Chinese business leaders on trade, investment and participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Oman’s attendance at the Yinchuan Expo aims to boost Omani-Sino links in logistics, tourism, manufacturing, mining and fisheries. The event will see Al Jabri speak alongside senior Chinese business figures, and will also provide the opportunity for members of the delegation to pitch projects to potential investors.
Remarking on the China visit, Nasima al Balushi, Ithraa’s Director General for Investment & Exports said: “We believe there are significant opportunities for joint investment projects and partnership. Our strengths, particularly in manufacturing, logistics, fisheries, mining and tourism make us a very attractive proposition for Chinese investors. We are committed to driving growth across the Sultanate by connecting it to the world’s most important markets.”
Described as the biggest development push in history, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to transform the economic environment of participating economies. Business leaders believe regional co-operation on new and improved transport infrastructure could substantially reduce trade costs and improve connectivity, leading to higher cross-border trade and investment and improved regional growth. And as Oman looks to diversify its economy, attract more foreign investment, create sustainable job opportunities and increase its global market presence, the Belt and Road Initiative is already presenting new opportunities.
In 2018, Oman Wanfang LLC, a consortium of six private Chinese firms, pledged to invest $10.7bn in building an 11,720 square metre industrial city on the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm. The consortium has promised to develop at least 30 per cent of the planned China-Oman Industrial Park in Duqm within 5-7 years and 10 Chinese firms have signed land-lease agreements to build various projects, totalling an investment of over $3bn.
For Oman, as an international shipping and logistics hub, the maritime element of the Belt and Road Initiative is clearly set to be the most important. The development of Duqm Port would not only increase inter-regional trade but also open up trade opportunities for Omani companies, large and small, in Africa, where China has made $60bn available for infrastructure development as part of its investment in the continent — improving its economic outlook and prospects for growth.
She concluded: “China and Oman share a long-standing and highly collaborative business relationship, one that fuels prosperity in both countries. Indeed, we strongly believe the Sultanate’s a great place for Chinese investment. Our strategic location, quality of life, infrastructure, stability and transparency of our political, legal and regulatory environment, breadth and depth of investor pool, entrepreneurial culture plus the wide range of support offered by government to foreign investors are all key strengths.”