Muscat: Iran and Oman enjoy very friendly relations but still the commercial trade between the two countries is below the expectations, says Omani Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Al Sunaidy said that Iran is a big market for Oman and more investment opportunities will be created after the lifting of the sanctions against Tehran.
"Our exports to Iran grew last year. We are seeing more interest from Omani companies to go to Iran. More people are also going on tours and for medical treatment. We are also seeing more Iranian companies selling directly to Oman," he said.
"Iran is a big market for us. We also are optimistic that once some of the sanctions are lifted, Iran becomes a very (promising) market for many of our companies," the minister said. "Iran is a very friendly nation with which we have continuously had good relationship, and we feel that commercial relations are below the expectations."
According to the latest statistics of Oman's Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the value of Oman's imports from Iran stood at OMR215,774,867 in 2013, showing a 172.2 per cent increase compared to 2012 during which Oman imported OMR79,262,355 from Iran.
Also Oman's exports to Iran (exports and re-exports) totalled OMR124,261,002 in 2013, an increase of 8.4 per cent in the amount of exports against OMR114,673,887 in 2012.
So the value of bilateral trade stood at OMR340,035,869 in 2013, compared to OMR193,936,242 in 2012.
Al Sunaidy also expressed hope that more Omani and Iranian trade delegations should visit each other's country to explore investment opportunities.
Commenting on the trade between Khasab and the Iranian island of Qeshm, he said that it is a traditional trade and will hopefully be more regulated in the future, especially after the sanctions issue is resolved.
"We hope that as we expand the port of Khasab in the next five-year plan and as we add more facilities and Iran gets out of some of its sanctions, the trade will be more regulated," he said.
Hopefully, there will be bigger boats and more frequent travels, Al Sunaidy noted.
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