Economy, Business And Markets

Visit by Omanis Opens New Vistas for 2-Way Trade

Visit by Omanis Opens  New Vistas for 2-Way TradeVisit by Omanis Opens  New Vistas for 2-Way Trade

An Omani trade delegation, comprised of more than 50 high-ranking business owners and investors, held negotiations with Iranian companies and industry players in Tehran on Saturday.

The delegation, headed by Said bin Saleh al-Kiyumi, the chairman of Oman chamber of commerce and industry, came to Iran after months of negotiations with the joint Iran-Oman chamber of commerce based in Tehran.

The visit comes as the two countries are seeking to expand economic ties amid cordial political relations the two sides have maintained for decades.

Muscat, which has always tried to take a neutral intermediary position in the regional political arena, maintains close ties with all the Persian Gulf countries including Iran. The sultanate has played a crucial intermediary role in helping resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program and facilitated the negotiations between Tehran and the western powers.

 Unimpressive Trade

Meanwhile, the unimpressive trade volume between the two nations, which is estimated to be below $1 billion, has galvanized the private sector in Tehran and Muscat into action.

Among the main objectives of the chambers of commerce in Iran and Oman is to familiarize businesspeople from both sides with trade opportunities each country has to offer. This is especially important for Omani merchants and companies who seem to have very limited information about the business environment in Iran.

“We managed to invite the Omani delegation including royal family members and top managers of Omani banks as well as reputable trading companies to come see at first hand the huge business potential in our country,” Mohsen Zarrabi, the head of Iran-Oman Joint Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture, told the Financial Tribune.

 Transport Cooperation

One reason behind the Omanis’ will to seek business with Iran is the regional transportation corridor agreed between Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Qatar. The so-called North-South Corridor has encouraged the two country’s transportation sectors to try find new ways to boost cooperation, Ahmed Ali Akak, deputy CEO of the port of Salaleh, told the Financial Tribune.    

“The sultanate has made huge investments to develop three major ports of Sohar, Salaleh, and Duqm. The ports enjoy state-of-the-art facilities. The Islamic Republic of Iran has access to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), therefore we have a better connectivity to the open seas and can complement one another. The transportation agreement will help strengthen our international trade because it will enable us to access different areas. Oman is going to build on the connectivity and act as a facilitator to Iran and the countries beyond,” Akak added.

 Private Sectors

“We must capitalize on the right sectors to secure serious business deals. During the past decades, the two countries have had excellent political and diplomatic relations but trade has not been satisfactory. I believe boosting bilateral economic ties is easily attainable once the two governments establish the legal frameworks and then act only as facilitators to pave the way for the private sector to play the pivotal role in doing business,” Akak responded to the Financial Tribune’s question on whether a final nuclear deal with the West will help increase trade between the two Persian Gulf neighbors.

During the Saturday meetings in Tehran, Omani and Iranian officials at the chambers of commerce briefed the other side’s businesspeople on the investment opportunities and possible joint cooperation, after which a business-to-business session was held.

Interaction between the private sector entities of both sides can elevate the prospect of growing bilateral relations, especially after the financial and banking restrictions on Iran are removed.