Broaden ties with Oman

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THE recent visit of a high-profile 22-member business delegation from Oman, the first ever to Pakistan to explore business and investment opportunities, has highlighted bright prospects for meaningfully increasing bilateral economic cooperation.

The members of the delegation, led by Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) Redha Jumma Mohamed Ali Al-Saleh, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan, had discussions with key members of the Government and interacted exhaustively with their Pakistani counterparts, expressing keen desire to foster trade and investment ties between the two brotherly countries.

Oman is, perhaps, the only maritime neighbor of Pakistan with which Islamabad enjoyed friction-free and best of relations because of historical linkages and goodwill between the people of the two countries.

Contrary to its size, Oman enjoys a position of strength and prominence in regional and global affairs because of wise policies pursued by late Sultan Qaboos bin Said and his successor Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, who is working hard to improve the lot of his people and build strong linkages with countries of the region.

Under the vision 2040, Oman is working on five sectors including mining, logistics, tourism, food security and industrial growth.

The incumbent Sultan is pursuing a multi-dimensional strategy to develop Oman on modern lines creating opportunities for greater trade and investment with other countries including Pakistan but regrettably the trade volume, which was $655 million before Covid-19 dropped to $250 million.

There are also bright opportunities for undertaking joint ventures by the private sector of the two countries but issues like issuance of visas need to be looked into by both sides on a priority basis.

As highlighted during discussions between the Omani delegation and its Pakistani counterparts, are a number of commodities in which the two countries can enhance trade like the semi-milled or wholly milled rice, tents of textile material, fresh or dried guavas, mangoes, onions and shallots, fresh or chilled potatoes.

The issues hindering trade and investment have adequately been identified and it is now for the relevant ministries and officials to initiate the process and bilateral talks to resolve them.

The two sides need to set up a Joint Business Council, prioritize manpower export and facilitate traders and investors and take advantage of investment opportunities offered by special economic zones.

 

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