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Oman Sees More Scope as Non-oil Exports Soar 32 per cent

Middle East : 14 July 2011

Source: TimesofOman

Sultanate of Oman saw the value of its non-oil exports rise to RO2.448 billion in 2010, a jump of 32.4 per cent over the previous year. This success is in line with the export strategy developed by the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development which identified thrust products and target markets for 2006-2010.

“This is clearly excellent news. It shows the strength of Oman’s non-oil export sector which plays a key role in our economy.

There are a lot of innovative Omani companies out there which are seriously growing their exports. Evidence shows there’s a positive link between innovation, research and development and exports, and this is where Omani companies are focusing their attention,” commented the Faris Al Farsi, acting director-general (Export Development) of Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development.

Non-oil exports have increased significantly in minerals, up 52.8 per cent on 2009; chemical products reached RO709 million, a rise of 129.6 per cent on the previous 12 months; and livestock and associated products grew by 27 per cent on 2009.

Salim bin Nasser Al Bortmany, deputy general manager of Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives said: “This is a tremendous performance by Omani businesses. It’s quite simple really – Oman is making things which people in countries with growing economies want to buy. Indeed, our current international trade record shows that we have reasons to be positive about the strength of our non-oil sector. But there still remains the potential to grow exports much further in areas such as food and beverage, base metals, machinery and plastic and rubber products.”

The 2010 non-oil export figures clearly demonstrate that Omani exporters are moving in the right direction and that efforts in helping domestic exporters find business in emerging markets such as Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya and India are paying dividends.

“With regard more mature markets we’ve been helping local companies participate at major international trade shows in the United States and Europe. We’ve also been encouraging Omani exporters to take advantage of the Oman-US Free Trade Agreement which has seen our non-oil exports to the US hit RO109.6 million in 2010 as against RO68.3 million in 2009. This is an increase of 60.5 per cent, an outstanding achievement,” stated Al Farsi.

The authority is also focusing on the growing Indian market, initially by carrying out market research which was followed by a seminar on ‘Exporting to India’ held in Muscat in December 2010.

“We fully understand the important role the authority is playing in facilitating the re-orientation of exports towards emerging markets like India and removing any regulatory barriers for Omani companies that wish to break into these countries by developing strong relationships with their governments,” remarked Al Farsi.

“Earlier this year, we organised business matchmaking events in Mumbai and New Delhi where we partnered Omani exporters with Indian importers. Indeed, during 2010, we witnessed non-oil Omani exports to India grow by 47.5 per cent,” he added.

“Our efforts are paying off and given the progress we’re making I fully expect us to hit the 2020 export target of RO6.2 billion,” concluded the acting director general of Export Development.

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