Muscat: In line with the increasing economic ties between the two countries, a private equity and real estate delegation from the United States representing an elite group of fund managers visited Oman to explore opportunities for partnership in the Sultanate across the transport, logistics, healthcare and tourism sectors.
"America is open for business. It may sound trite, but it's true. That simple phrase captures the essence of the US government's commitment to partner with America's private sector to promote trade and investment, and to attract foreign investment," said deputy chief of mission Paul R. Malik, addressing a forum here on Wednesday.
He was addressing American and Omani business delegation at the 'private equity, venture capital and real estate US commerce department certified mission.
Paul Malik said that such a delegation has come to Oman in less than a year's time because they have been impressed by the drive and energy visible in the Sultanate from both its public and private sectors.
The US embassy in Muscat, and in particularly Greta C. Holtz, the US ambassador to the Sultanate, is dedicated to strengthening economic ties between the United States and Oman, and expanding the impact of our US-Oman Free Trade Agreement, he said.
Oman has held its inaugural Business Road Show to the United States one month back. The US ambassador travelled to Houston, Chicago, and New York in October with minister of commerce and industry Ali Al Sunaidy and a delegation of 40 prominent Omani corporate leaders. American investors with whom they met were genuinely excited about the opportunities in Oman, observed Malik.
"While I am pleased about the opportunities in Oman, I really want to emphasise today that the US is very much open for business, and offers very attractive investment potential," he added.
A direct line to US business teleconference was held in September, which helped facilitate interactions between the State General Reserve Fund, Oman Investment Fund, and local legal experts on private equity opportunities in Oman, as well as the implications of the FTA for financial services.
Malik said that since 2009, US economy has been expanding. "Our GDP has grown for 10 consecutive quarters. Exports are up, reaching a record $2.2 trillion last year. The deficit has been cut in half. The housing market is springing back. And, over the past 44 months, businesses have created 7.8 million jobs.
"In fact, businesses have added more than 2 million jobs over the last year alone. It's a dynamic economy."
Despite the fluctuations of the global economy, America's underlying fundamental values and core strengths of competitiveness, creativity, and entrepreneurship are rock solid.
"For years, we've drawn more foreign investment to our shores than any other country, with a total FDI stock of more than $2.6 trillion dollars–including inflows of $166 billion in 2012 alone." This will only continue, and should provide Omani investors with confidence and reassurance to invest in the United States.
The reasons are clear: "We have a skilled and educated workforce, abundant and affordable energy, sound and stable financial markets, a transparent legal system and excellent intellectual property protection. All of these are ingredients create a welcoming business climate, which stimulates investment and growth," he said.
The forum provided an opportunity for the visiting American delegation and the Omanis to interact and explore potential of partnerships by investing in US real estate and private equity. The forum was hosted by the US ambassador and the Oman American Business Council.