Business


Salalah wooing Indian investors



Muscat: A high-level delegation from Oman highlighted business prospects at a seminar titled 'Opportunities in Oman for your Gulf and US Business', in Pune — an industrial hub near Mumbai, India — recently, which was attended by more than 130 representatives of the business community.

The Omani delegation comprised Salim Taman Al Mashani, chairman of ICT Oman; Peter Ford, chief executive at the Port of Salalah; Jeff Rodwell, a representative of American international law company Duane Morris; Dr Shirish Gupte, chief executive of ICT-Kitara JV; and Magesh Ganesan, country manager at DHL.

Pune, which is located 180km from Mumbai, is the largest automotive centre in India, with more than 4,000 manufacturing units serving both the domestic market and a significant share of the $6.8 billion exports of automobile engineering and parts from India. Pune is also one of the important information technology centres of India.

By taking advantage of the Salalah hub incentives, location and connectivity available by air, land, and sea, companies from Pune that are established at the Salalah Freezone, adjacent to the Port of Salalah, could reduce their supply-chain transit times to major destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Asia by 28 per cent and its haulage time to the port by 95 per cent, at a 71 per cent lower trucking cost.

The speakers also demonstrated that medium-sized companies established in Salalah would benefit from a reduction in working-capital requirements by up to $9.5 million annually, while the concessional duty structure under the US–Oman Free Trade Agreement could potentially save the Indian automotive exporters up to $45 million annually.

The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture, organisers of the seminar and the premier industrial association for promoting trade and development in Pune, noted that many of the attendees had expressed an interest in visiting Oman to view the facilities and meet relevant local companies and government officials to explore other cross-border opportunities by utilising the Port of Salalah and Salalah Free Zone as a springboard to emerging markets in East Africa, India, and the GCC from a single location.

The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agricultureestimates that companies established in Pune expect to report a about $8 billion in revenue from 2012 operations, adding that the distinct advantages of Salalah's business environment for manufacturing and logistics, such as low-cost financing, tax concessions, a strong infrastructure, and a young workforce, increased the appeal of foreign investment in Oman.

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