Muscat: Capitalizing on its strategic location, infrastructure and talent, Oman is looking to lure UK manufacturing, transport and tourism companies to set up offices in the sultanate, helping them connect with the fast growing economies of the Gulf and East Africa.
To this end, and reaffirming Oman’s excellent trade relationship with the UK, Ithraa, Oman’s inward investment and export development agency, has organized a top-flight business delegation led by HE Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and co-Chair of the Oman-UK Joint Working Group, to London. The delegation will meet with senior UK government officials and key business leaders between 22 – 25 October.
Amongst the leading organisations participating in the trade delegation are: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ithraa, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), Asyad, ASAAS, SEZAD, BP Oman, Muscat Securities Market and Vision 2040.
Speaking ahead of the UK visit, Mrs. Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa’s Director General of Export Development and Acting Director General of Investment noted that Oman’s infrastructure and development as a global logistics hub through ports, air and road construction and expansion coupled with a choice of free trade zones, industrial estates and tech parks offer a good mix for UK companies looking to tap into the Gulf’s growing and lucrative market, adding: “As well as having word-class infrastructure, Oman's political and economic stability gives UK investors great confidence. The strength and warmth of the bilateral relationship and the long trading history also add to the attraction.”
As the delegation build on the success of the longstanding Oman – UK trade relationship, the October trade visit will give the delegation an ideal opportunity to showcase the wide-ranging manufacturing, tourism and logistics opportunities on offer in Oman. It will also enable participants to connect with the next generation of British companies looking to do business in the Gulf and Asia.
“There is no better place in the Gulf to establish a business than in Oman. This is the message the delegation will be delivering in London. In fact, we are certainly seeing more UK companies looking to Oman as a strategic location and using it as a hub for trade with the GCC and East Africa. Companies that are benefiting from the sultanate’s political and economic stability, robust legal system, infrastructure and multilingual workforce,” explained Mrs. Al Balushi.
The UK is the largest investor in Oman with nearly 50% of all Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2017 worth US$11.8bn and is also one of the sultanate’s top trading partners with exports of UK goods to Oman increasing year-on-year.
The Department of International Trade (DIT) based at the British Embassy in Muscat helped to support US$4bn of trade in goods and services between the UK and Oman in 2017, a 92% increase from 2016. Services provided by DIT Muscat include provision of in-country expertise and business guidance, sign posting to relevant local partners, facilitation of meetings between suppliers and buyers, arranging of visit programs, and provision of networking opportunities.
“Trade promotion services form a central part of what Ithraa does and we are particularly proud of our track-record of helping UK companies set-up and export from the sultanate. We also offer a range of inward investment services, advice and market intelligence that give UK clients interested in setting up in Oman the edge they need to compete in the Gulf’s highly lucrative market,” concluded Mrs. Al Balushi.