The series of regular meetings between Qatar Chamber and private sector leaders in Oman is expected to usher in “further growth” in bilateral trade and promote more investments between Qatar and Oman, a top chamber official has said.
Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani, who held meetings in Oman last week, said the discussions with the Omani business community mainly revolved around bilateral trade relations and investment opportunities.
“Since last year, Qatar and Oman’s bilateral trade has improved; while we still have to receive the figures of last year’s trade volume, we have witnessed significant growth in import and export activities between the two countries,” Sheikh Khalifa told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a recent agreement signing ceremony between Qatari and Omani industrial firms hosted by the chamber.
“On a daily basis, we see more bilateral visits between the Qatari and Omani business community, as well as the signing of bilateral agreements between the two parties. Most of our imports come by way of Sohar and Salalah ports, including a direct line but majority of the goods from non-direct lines come from these two ports or from the ports of India and Karachi,” Sheikh Khalifa continued.
Qatar Chamber vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari lauded the direct shipping lines linking Hamad Port to Oman’s Sohar and Salalah ports, describing the move as a “milestone” in the maritime transport and shipping industry “at the regional and international levels.”
Al-Kuwari made the statement last year during the Qatar-Oman Joint Business Council held on the sidelines of the Omani Products Exhibition (Opex 2017).
The maritime links, according to al-Kuwari, “has had a significant impact on the continuation of Qatar’s normal commercial traffic” following the economic blockade imposed on Qatar in June last year.
Sheikh Khalifa noted that Qatar imports “whatever Oman produces.” Aside from building materials, Qatar imports food and a large majority of goods needed by the local market, Shiekh Khalifa said, adding that Oman is a transhipment hub to other parts of the world.
In the first quarter of 2018, the chamber reported that Qatar’s non-oil exports witnessed a 15.1% growth to reach QR5.64bn compared to the QR4.9bn in the same period last year.
The report said Oman remained as Qatar’s top non-oil exports destination in March 2018 accounting for QR485.8mn or 35.8% of the total exports followed by Netherlands with almost QR209.1mn or 15.4%, and Turkey with QR 87.7mn or 6.5%.
Sheikh Khalifa also stressed that Qatar remains open to foreign direct investments, particularly in the industrial and manufacturing sector.
“Qatar is always open to Omani companies, as well as other foreign companies around the world; Qatar is the right country for their investments…we already have several Qatari investments in Oman and vice versa in the field of manufacturing,” he said.