Ali Al Matani –
The Sultanate of Oman has maintained certain wonderful relations in world. This is why it enjoys respect and value at international level. Recently Oman has singed a strategic partnership agreement with China. This is a proof where its relations are headed and developed under the most wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both leaders have nurtured the relations to the level so that they can address the aspirations of the people of the two friendly nations.
The relations between Oman and China are deep-rooted in history. These relations have seen all political, economic and cultural changes during last four decades. Perhaps the assertion of the Chinese ambassador to the Sultanate on the depth of relations in all areas between the two countries has proved where the two nations and its people are headed in developing links. Both these countries have respect in the world community. The two countries have always tried to bring the views on various issues closer and served their people with positive development.
Since last several years, both Oman and China have achieved the level of relationships where they wanted them to be. Now, they are strategic partners.
The geographic location of the Sultanate is a point which is very important for China if it intends to develop commercial relations with the world. This is the aspect the Chinese ambassador pointed out recently. Oman is not only strategically located in the region, but it has also built a number of huge ports. This is the reason why China wanted to utilise the strategic location of the Sultanate economically and geographically. Oman is the most safe and stable country and is not
affected by any geopolitics and military activities which makes it suitable for investments.
At the economic level, the volume of bilateral trade between Oman and China has reached to $21.939 billion during 2018, and it is growing at the rate of 40 per cent every year. This makes China top trade partner of Oman
and is the main importer of Omani crude which is 97 per cent of total Omani exports to China.
There are $6.06 billion Chinese investments in Oman, according to the statistics in 2018. In addition to this, Oman is also the beneficiary of developmental loans from Chinese banks. In the development of Duqm Port, it got $265 million loans from these banks. It also got $36 million for primary development of railways in Oman.
In 2017, Asian Investment Bank agreed to provide $239 million as loan for Oman towards infrastructure development and skills. With this the total volume of Chinese developmental loans made available for Oman has reached $540 million. This is an indication of the level of trust between the two countries leading to massive Chinese investments in Duqm in Oman-China City and other such projects as well as in areas of petrochemical industries. The two governments have paved way for the private sector also to expand the areas of bilateral cooperation.
The tourism sector has also taken a giant leap between the two countries. Oman is providing extraordinary facilities for Chinese tourists including visa on arrival. It has special promotional programmes for Chinese market. This has led to an increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Oman.
In the first-quarter of the current year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Oman stood at 20,000. The Ministry of Tourism is expected to open its representation office in China
during the second half of the current year to attract more tourists from this promising market.
We are confident that the relations between the two countries would further expand and strengthen in all areas and at all levels. There would be more investments and development work with the bilateral cooperation. The ultimate beneficiary of these relations would be the people of the two countries.