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KARACHI: Consul General of Oman Muhammad Nasser Hamed Al Mabsali has said that as trade volume between Pakistan and Oman has decreased from US 650 million dollars to $ 250 million due to Covid-19, it was really necessary that the two Islamic countries must make collective efforts to boost the economies by exploring opportunities to enhance trade.

Exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), Omani CG said: “We need to explore business and investment opportunities in both countries to reach the desired goals and achieve economic growth by promoting trade and investment in the agricultural, industrial, technological, real estate and tourism sectors”.

Urging the business community to invest in Oman, the consul general informed that new laws, privileges and facilities have been introduced for foreign investors, of which the most important one was granting investor’s visa to for a period of five to ten years. He stated that now was the time when investors can fully benefit as the Port of Sohar and the huge port of Duqm were ready.

“The investors of both countries should contact each other and put their strengths together to utilize and link these ports to Gwadar port”, he advised, adding that 11 industrial estates, four economic zones and two technological parks were available for investment to foreign investors.

Gwadar Port was undoubtedly a game changer and it can play a vital role in strengthening ties between Pakistan and Oman when linked with the ports in Oman, he said, adding that Oman aims to become a global logistic hub by 2040.

He said that as Consul General, it was his responsibility to play the role of a bridge between the business communities of Oman and Pakistan therefore, the Omani Consulate gives highest priority to maintain close ties with the business communities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and other major cities so that collective efforts could be made to further strengthen trade and investment ties between the two countries.

“There are a lot of opportunities available in tourism sector of Pakistan and Oman which have to be effectively promoted to exchange maximum number of tourists”, he added. President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, while welcoming the Omani consul general, stated that Pakistan and Oman have been enjoying cordial trade relations as in 2020 but the existing trade volume needs to be enhanced by exploring new avenues of trade and investment cooperation.

“There are a number of commodities in which the two countries can enhance trade or establish trade ties. For instance, in 2020, Oman imported $ 1.13 billion worth of telephone sets from other countries, whereas Pakistan exported around $ 16.73 million worth of the commodities to other countries. However, trade in this commodity between Pakistan and Oman does not exist”.

“Similarly, during 2020, Oman imported jerseys or pullovers worth $ 41.48 million from other countries but did not import any from Pakistan even though Pakistan exported around $452 million of the commodity to other countries”, he added.

He noted that commodities where potential exists but were not being explored included iron ores and concentrates, turbojets, propellers and other gas turbines, pumps for liquids, centrifuges, polymers of ethylene, electric generating sets and rotary converters and curtains etc.

Muhammad Idrees also stressed the need to form Oman-Pakistan Joint Business Council (JBC) in order to further enhance trade and economic relations between both the countries. A MoU had been signed in this regard yet there has been little progress.

Moreover, Special Economic Zones being setup under CPEC could provide an ideal opportunity to Omani investors to consider Pakistan for investments and joint ventures, particularly in the food sector.

President KCCI suggested that Pakistan and Oman should cooperate in the field of Blue Economy including enhancing tourism through frequent ferry service given their close proximity.

“The poultry industry is a niche that Pakistan could foster with Oman as Pakistan produces a poultry surplus”.

He invited Omani investors to explore business opportunities in Pakistan and also participate in the CPEC project through investments and joint ventures.

“I also invite Omani business community to participate in KCCI’s My Karachi Exhibition scheduled to be held in June 2022”.

Vice-President Qazi Zahid Hussain, Chairman of Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Zia ul Arfeen, former president KCCI Majyd Aziz and KCCI managing committee members were also present at the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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