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Qatar emerges as a key trading partner of Oman

Muscat: Qatar is emerging as an important trading partner of Oman, with the Sultanate’s non-oil exports to the GCC country surging ahead by 144.1 per cent, amounting to OMR132.8 million in the first nine months of 2017.

Although the total export revenue is not very significant, the growth rate shows Qatar’s increasing dependence on Oman for its import requirements after the recent developments in the Gulf region.

According to the latest monthly statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the Sultanate’s re-exports to Qatar also jumped by 1,219.2 per cent to OMR192.6 million during the January-September period of 2017, against a mere OMR14.6 million for the same period last year.

Several initiatives have been undertaken by both countries to strengthen bilateral trade. As part of a new plan, an agreement to enhance port and logistics cooperation was signed between Oman and Qatar last September. Besides, new shipping services have also started between the two countries to meet the growing transportation needs of Qatari importers.

The Sultanate has taken several initiatives to raise its non-oil exports, especially to the GCC region and the untapped African market. Ithraa has been conducting a series of Omani product exhibitions, mainly in the GCC countries, since 2012, to raise non-oil exports from the country. Moreover, Omani traders are looking for export opportunities in Qatar, including supplying building materials, as the country is investing in its infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia has also showed a phenomenal growth in imports from Oman, with non-oil imports from the Sultanate surging ahead by 88.6 per cent to OMR370.9 million, from OMR196.7 million during the January-September period under review.

However, the Sultanate’s leading non-oil export market is the United Arab Emirates, which imported Omani products worth OMR522 million during the January-September period of 2017, up from OMR444.9 million for the same period in 2016.

Oman’s total non-oil exports surged by 31.4 per cent to OMR2,364.7 million for the first nine months of 2017, from OMR1,799.6 million for the same period last year. A recovery in commodity prices since last year seems to have aided an increase in the export revenue, after a gap of almost two years.

A phenomenal growth in exports of mineral products, chemicals, plastics, rubber, and electric machinery aided the recovery in non-oil exports, according to data from the monthly report of NCSI. However, re-exports from the Sultanate declined by 8 per cent to OMR1,418.4 million, from OMR1,542.3 million earlier.

The country’s total exports showed a 21.8 per cent growth at OMR9,143.2 million during the January-September period of 2017, from OMR7,504.8 million for the same period of the previous year, mainly on account of a recovery in crude oil prices in the international market.

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