118 registrations under FTA with Singapore, Europe in ’16
About 118 investment registrations were made during 2016 under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore and other countries.
The FTA in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is considered a major initiative for the bloc to achieve coordination, integration and connection among member countries in all fields, especially coordination of their policies and commercial relations with members and help them compete in international markets.
The Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has made tremendous efforts in developing the industrial, investment and commercial sectors as part of its economic diversification strategy.
The department of GCC affairs in the ministry has done much to reach agreements and memorandums of understanding with neighbouring countries in the commercial, economic, investment and technical fields.
President of the commercial cooperation department at the ministry Jumana Bint Saeed Al Boseidia said that during 2016, it had succeeded in having 118 investor registrations.
She also pointed out that the FTA between the GCC and Singapore is the first signed between the Gulf countries and another country outside the Middle East region and came into force from April 1, 2015.
Under the agreement the two parties grant exemptions to each other with respect to goods originating from the respective countries.
The agreement provides many opportunities for businesses in GCC countries, especially in the sectors of commerce and trade, and also in establishing strategic partnerships with Singaporean corporations that have advanced technology and good success records.
Regarding the European FTA which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, she said it was authenticated as per Royal Decree No. (43/2010) issued on April 18, 2010 and came into force from July 1, 2015.
However, the volume of trade between GCC and EFTA countries remains lower, providing great opportunities to boost trade. She invited all the businessmen in the Sultanate to benefit from this agreement and explore and tap new markets.
The most important services under the EFTA include professional specialised services in legal, financial, accounting, engineering, medical computer and allied activities, research and development, real estate and other commercial sectors such as advertisements, market and technical analyses, vehicle testing and employment.
Such trade agreements also provide internship opportunities for Omani youth to establish industrial and service projects and hold specialised exhibitions for identifying national industries and increasing exports.