MUSCAT – The Omani-Iranian relations have been witnessing a remarkable growth in various areas, which truly reflects the deep-rooted ties of friendship between the two neighbouring countries.
The official visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to the Islamic Republic of Iran this Sunday affirms the advanced relations between Oman and Iran. These relations are based on mutual respect and good neighborliness. Furthermore, the talks, to be conducted by His Majesty the Sultan with President Dr Ebrahim Raisi of Iran, will open broader horizons for cooperation between the two countries in different spheres, particularly in the economic, investment and trade fields. The two leaders will also exchange views during the talks on a set of regional and international issues.
During the past two years, trade exchange between Oman and Iran grew by 27.9 percent to reach RO 320.8 million by the end of 2022. Data issued by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) indicated that the total Omani exports to Iran amounted to RO 207.4 million in 2022, of which RO 4.2 million is the value of Omani origin exports, compared to RO 1.2 million in 2021, constituting a surge by 244 percent. The most important exports of Oman include machines, devices and equipment for heat treatment, plates, sheets, tapes, products of poly methacrylate, diesel engine lubricants, optics tools, equipment for medical examination and electrical equipment.
Meanwhile, the total imports of Oman from Iran in 2022 amounted to RO 113.4 million, compared to RO 98.7 million in 2021. Those imports include livestock and semi-finished products of iron steel and petroleum tar, as well as fruits, shrimp and live animals. The data shows that the trade balance in 2021 and 2022 was in favour of Oman, reaching RO 53.3 million and RO 94 million, respectively.
As for the Iranian investments in Oman, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion indicated that the number of companies in which there is an Iranian contribution reached 1,847 by the end of 2022. In those companies, the number of Iranians who have shares stood at 3,600, with a total contribution value of RO 196.6 million, comprising 87.5 percent of the total invested capital in those companies.
The number of companies with 100 percent Iranian shareholding reached 1,346. The number is equivalent to 72.9 percent of the total number of companies with Iranian investment. Further, the total number of Iranian shareholders in these companies reached 2,623 investors. Moreover, the value of the Iranian contribution in these companies amounted to over RO 6 million, while companies with 50 percent Iranian share have a total contribution value of RO 148.8 million. The wholesale and retail trade sector ranked first among other sectors in terms of the number of licensed activities. The number of activities reached 2,176, which is equivalent to 65.3 percent of the total licensed activities in the sectors. As far as licenses are concerned, they reached 793 licenses for the activity of exporting and importing offices, which is the highest number among other activities.
Statistics indicated that Iran ranked third in terms of the number of commercial registrations in Oman, with 4,496 commercial registrations at the end of 2022.
Ibrahim Ahmed Al Muaini, Ambassador of Oman to Iran, affirmed that the official visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to Tehran will contribute to the development of relations between the two countries in various fields. It is expected that the visit will result in the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that serve the interests of both countries.
In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Al Muaini added that Oman and Iran enjoy historical and stable relations, pointing out that Oman relies in its relations with other countries on several principles, including credibility and transparency. Those principles, he affirmed, enabled Oman to play prominent roles at the regional and international levels.
Ali Najafi Khoshroudi, Ambassador of Iran to Oman said that that the official visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to Tehran and his meeting with the supreme leadership of Iran will enhance partnership and cooperation between various Omani and Iranian establishments more than ever. The Iranian ambassador told ONA that relations between the two countries are historical and distinguished. There is ongoing coordination and consultation between the two countries on various regional and international issues, as well as economic and political files that serve the interests of the two countries’ and their peoples, explained the ambassador.
Khoshroudi added that the trade and economic exchange between the two countries has tripled over the past two years. Trade exchange between Oman and Iran reached $2 billion with a 60 percent growth during the past year, he said. He further noted that the efforts exerted to enhance air and sea transport between Oman and Iran will contribute significantly to boosting trade and economic exchange between Tehran and Muscat. The Iranian ambassador indicated that canceling travel visas for citizens of the two countries has contributed greatly to the promotion of tourism and trade exchange. This increased the number of daily flights between various areas in Iran and Oman, he added. He reiterated that Oman has a special place in Iran’s foreign policy, as Iran’s supreme leadership always lauds Oman’s balanced and influential role in the regional and global arenas.
Mohammed Abdul Hussein Baqer, Head of the Omani side in Oman-Iran Business Council, said that the upcoming official visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to Iran serves many goals that will enhance economic relations and augment trade exchange, joint projects and investment partnerships. He pointed out that Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Iranian side, will organize several Omani and Iranian trade fairs in the two countries during the current year. He told ONA that Oman-Iran Business Council has set up several business and investment programmes to enhance trade exchange between the two countries.