Highlighting these business-friendly investment incentives H E Dr Ali al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, on Tuesday invited Indian businessmen to his country.
The minister is leading a large high-level delegation, reflecting the high priority accorded to the long-standing relationship between the sultanate and India, and the desire to continue building the strategic partnership between the two friendly countries.
Speaking at the India-Oman Joint Business Council Meeting, organised by FICCI, H E Dr Sunaidi said, “Our two countries have witnessed a surge in bilateral trade in 2013; crossing the landmark figure of US$6bn, compared with approximately US$3.9bn in 2012. Today, there is a prominent Indian presence in both Oman’s economy and society. Indian companies have sought to capitalise on the lucrative market opportunities in Oman’s economy as it continues to rapidly grow and develop.”
The minister said, “Oman also has something that distinguishes us from the vast majority of other nations, a free trade agreement with the United States. As a key global export destination for India, Indian firms could also benefit significantly from establishing operations in Oman to capitalise on the access we provide to the lucrative US market.”
He added that Oman has historically depended on oil, gas, and mineral resources, but diversification is now a high priority and there are many investment opportunities for Indian firms in Oman’s non-hydrocarbon sectors. There are four in particular, transportation, manufacturing, information and communication technologies (ICT) and health care that can play to the comparative advantages and strengths of both the nations.
H E Hamed Saif al Rawahi, Oman's Ambassador to India, said, “We have numerous and wide fields of cooperation between our two countries. There are fields for commercial, investment and industrial cooperation which are being utilised in small and medium enterprises/institutions, transformative and handicraft industries, information technology and training. It is also utilised in different fields, for example, petrol, gas, fertilisers and petrochemicals, food security and transportation and communications, higher education related to scholarship between the two countries, in addition to cooperation in intellectual fields.”
H E J S Mukul, India's Ambassador to the sultanate, said that there were over 1,500 Indo-Omani joint ventures and 140 Indian companies actively operating in Oman. Estimates for the last year indicate that Indian companies have secured contracts worth US$1.25bn.
The Omani delegation met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday and discussed relations between the two countries and matters of common interest. The meeting also touched on efforts to strengthen ties between the peoples.
H E Dr Sunaidi conveyed the greetings of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. President Mukherjee, on his part, wished His Majesty the Sultan good health and happiness, and the Omani people further prosperity.
The minister will hold discussions with Indian officials on cooperation in trade and commerce, investment, the small and medium-enterprise sector, and ICT.