Leading provider of business investment consultancy services, The Business Year (TBY) is currently working on the second yearly publication entirely focused on the Sultanate of Oman. TBY meets with the world’s top political, commercial, and industrial leaders to deliver targeted information, in-depth analysis, and strategic advice to the global business community on economic trends and investment opportunities in the Sultanate.
The Diplomacy chapter is a signature of TBY’s unique editorial approach. In this section is featured contributions and interviews with politicians and international leaders discussing the current relations between the Sultanate and the most influential countries in the world. The Diplomacy chapter will reflect the intense and fruitful activity of the Sultanate in the field of international relations. An Inside Perspective from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said will open the chapter and the entire publication. High-level guest speakers will also elaborate on the current ties linking the Sultanate with the leading states in the world.
The Business Year: Oman 2015 will feature also a contribution from the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who commented, “President Obama and the US are very grateful for the role that Oman plays in the region as an important force for peace and stability. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has given the US important advice and counsel, and has helped us to be able to do things that might otherwise have been difficult in terms of reaching out to people, building alliances, building coalitions, and dealing with some very complicated and important international security issues.”
After having underlined Oman’s contribution to the global dialogue, the Secretary of State added, “We look forward to strengthening our trade and business affairs, but also our people-to-people relationship. We think there are opportunities in science and technology to build a relationship that I know is important to Oman, and the US would like to see if we could move forward on that.” The US is one of Oman’s top-10 trading partners. In 2013, US exports to Oman were worth $1.5bn. Major growth areas include electricity transmission, generation equipment, and services, as well as aviation services and aircraft and rail services and equipment. The Sultanate has a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US, which has been in force since 2009.”
The stability that characterizes the Sultanate is encouraging and fostering investment from several countries in the EU; “Oman’s stability gives UK investors great confidence,” said Lord Livingston, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment. “Its policies on economic diversification and private sector development create opportunities for the UK to support and partner in the many innovative companies and industries that are being created as a result,” he added. According to recent figures, approximately 40% of FDI into Oman is from the UK. Furthermore, the two-way trade between Oman and the UK surged by 17.5% to £671m in 2013 over the previous year, mainly on account of growth in the UK’s exports to the Sultanate,” he added.
HRH Princess Astrid, representing His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, said, “Our bilateral trade has increased substantially in recent years. Today, here in Muscat, literally hundreds of contacts and meetings have been taking place between Belgian and Omani companies and businesses. The first echoes of these fruitful encounters are very promising. They confirm that we were right to come here and to show our confidence in Oman as a trustworthy trading partner and as a safe investment hub.”
Juan Carlos I of Spain told TBY that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed in the field of transport, implying an exchange of expertise and assessment of transport development; another MoU in the tourism field aims at enhancing tourism cooperation between the two countries.
The Joint Declaration signed between Italy and Oman in 2013 broadened the two countries’ scope in the areas of economic, commercial, and industrial cooperation. In the past year, total bilateral trade increased to €576.5m (about OR288m). The main products exported to Oman are general machinery, in particular for marble working, which represents almost 25% of the total, followed by transport equipment, metal, and electronic equipment. In 2013 Italy imported goods worth approximately €141m from Oman, up by 50% on the previous year.