By Amal Rajab — MUSCAT, Feb. 14 – The relations between Oman and Iran are witnessing continuous growth as the two countries are working side-by-side to further enhance their relations. Recent statistics show a 35 -per cent increase in trade exchange which recorded $1.35 billion in 2016 compared with $1 billion seen a year earlier. The increase in Oman-Iran trade exchange was due to the opening of direct routes by the Oman’s National Ferries Company and Oman Air. Additionally, easing visa procedures and increased visits by officials from both countries to explore and exploit the available investment opportunities have also played a large part in the improvement of trade cooperation between the two countries.
A number of trade exhibitions were organised in both countries contributing to fostering trade and investment relations between the two countries. In June last year, Oman Air launched a brand-new service between Muscat and the Iranian city of Mashhad which was Oman Air’s second destination in Iran, following the launch of flights to Tehran in 2012. Currently, Oman Air has two air routes from Muscat to Tehran and Mashhad and three shipping lines between Bandar Abbas, Sohar and Shinas. The trade exchange between Oman and Iran acquires momentum from an increasing volume in food imports from Iran besides re-exports to Iran from other countries via Oman’s ports of Sohar and Salalah.
Last week the two countries resumed negotiations to conclude the gas export agreement and joint venture investment in gas projects. As per the agreement, Iran will export 28 million cubic metre gas daily through an undersea pipeline to Oman for 15 years to be turned to Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) in Oman and exported to the markets. According to a Ministry of Oil and Gas statement the two sides have reached an advanced stage in designing the gas pipeline project, and have reached further understanding regarding the pipeline route.