Oman receives enthusiastic trade policy review from WTO

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HE Al Yousuf said WTO members welcomed the launch of Oman Vision 2040 and the long-term goals included in the 10th five-year plan as well as the continued priority of diversification from hydrocarbons.

WTO members have praised Oman for its generally low tariffs and minimal non-tariff barriers to trade. Oman’s 10% GDP growth in the first half of 2021 has also received praise.

Members recognized the dual challenge resulting from low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic that Oman faced during the trade review period, and welcomed the measures taken by the government to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, in particular on the most vulnerable in society. .

Ahead of last week’s meetings in Geneva, Oman received more than 240 comments and questions from countries including China, India, the United States, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Iceland, a sign of the keen interest shown by the international community in Oman’s continued growth and progress.

Members commended Oman for its strong commitment to the multilateral trading system and active participation in the WTO, including its engagement in the negotiations on fisheries subsidies and its notification history.

Oman was also praised for ratifying the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and for formally implementing 100 percent of its commitments under the Agreement since 2020. At the same time, Members have encouraged Oman to join joint reporting initiatives, including on electronic commerce and regulation of domestic services. , and become a party to the Agreement on Government Procurement.

Discussions on foreign investment occupied a prominent place during the sessions on Wednesday and Friday in Geneva. Members commended Oman for its improvements towards a stable investment environment. In particular, highlighting the adoption of the Law on Commercial Companies and the Law on Foreign Capital Investment promulgated in 2020, and in particular for the abolition of foreign ownership limits.

Improvements to Invest Easy, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion’s one-stop-shop portal for new business registration, were covered by Minister Al Yousef in his review address to WTO members Wednesday afternoon.

Via Invest Easy, investors can now obtain approval for more than 1,500 economic activities – by issuing a single document that includes all the necessary licenses from ten leading authorities.

Minister Al Yousef told WTO members that since the launch of the new Invest Easy licensing service in April 2021, nearly 54,000 applicants have already received approvals.

WTO members also noted that reforms related to foreign capital investment, privatization, public-private partnerships and bankruptcy have improved Oman’s business environment and led to increased flows. investment. Minister Al Yousef pointed out that FDI in Oman at the end of the second quarter of 2021 had climbed to US $ 42.3 billion from US $ 39 billion for the same period in 2020.

The potential for considerable diversification of Oman’s transport and logistics sectors has also been highlighted by WTO members, especially given the country’s strategic location on international trade routes and considerable government investment. in ports, airports, free zones and industrial zones.

Other issues of interest to WTO Members included the protection of IPRs; the participation of women in the economy of Oman; excise tax on soft drinks; the development of free zones and special economic zones; public procurement procedures and job creation measures for the younger generation.

In conclusion, His Excellency Dr Saleh bin Said Masan, Undersecretary of Trade and Industry at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion, said: “We are encouraged and inspired by this approval. positive impact of our trade and investment policies by our international counterparts. Indeed, we look forward to further approvals as the benefits of Oman Vision 2040 play an even bigger role in our country’s economy, improving trade, attracting investment and creating jobs.

For press inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Sajda Al Ghaithy
Media director
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion
P.O. Box 550
Muscat, 100
Sultanate of Oman
Email: [email protected]

© Press release 2021


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