No monopoly for agencies to ensure fair prices

MUSCAT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has said that the final amendments to the Commercial Agencies Act are aimed at ensuring that all goods and services are provided in the markets of the Sultanate at competitive rates and high quality. This is because the government realises the importance of the commercial agencies and the need for multiple agencies for a healthy market.
The Director-General of the Department of Commercial Agencies at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “Parallel imports are legally permitted, and there is no commission on the parallel imports. Moreover, such import is open for merchants whether they are individual institutions or companies. Individuals are permitted to import what they need for their personal use.”
The amendments to the commercial agencies act in 1996 with a Royal Decree have cancelled monopoly for the agencies. It is permitted for the foreign agent to register more than one local agent in the Sultanate. These amendments also permitted the merchant or the companies to import the goods and products, just as any agency registered in the Sultanate. A registered agent no longer has rights to claim commission from parallel imports.
The Director-General said that the amendments brought in 2014 to the Commercial Agency Law with a Royal Decree 34/2014, effective from July 21, 2014, have cancelled all protection to the local agent.
As of now, there are no laws protecting the local agencies. The commercial agencies protection is done through the contract between the foreign agent and the local agent, as in all legal systems all over the world. The amended law has opened all institutions and even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get involved in import of foreign products that are suitable for the institution or the company.
All the laws and decisions in the Sultanate permit the import of different products and goods from all over the world without any restrictions.
Merchants can get the necessary authorisations for their import activities easily through the Bayan system, which is under the directorate general for customs, as it will save the investor’s time and effort.
The final amendments on the act of commercial agencies have enabled the owners of SMEs to expand their business by diversifying goods and products that are provided for the consumers. Moreover, the Ministry of Commerce invites the owners of SMEs to exploit these opportunities through which they can expand the activities of their companies to become competitive in the market.