Muscat: Trade volumes between Oman and Spain have soared in the last decade, tripling from OMR52 million in 2001 to close to OMR150 million in 2011.
Speaking exclusively to Times of Oman, Sergio Vela Ortiz, head of the Spanish Economic and Trade Office in Muscat, said, "Oman and Spain enjoy excellent relations at all levels, laying the groundwork for strengthening trade and investment ties and for deepening the understanding between the two countries."
Since the opening of the Economic and Trade Office of the Spanish Embassy in Muscat in October 2010, Sergio noted that more than 60 major corporations from Spain had visited Oman.
Speaking on exports, Sergio asserted, "Oman's exports to Spain have risen by 312 per cent to reach about OMR100 million in 2011, compared with the previous year." Omani exports mainly comprise LNG and petrochemical products such as plastic and organic chemicals. Spanish exports to Oman mainly comprise industrial products such as tiles, tyres, lubricants, and plastic and electrical equipment, as well as automobiles, machinery, and boats.
Sergio observed, "Not only is Spain contributing to Omani development through bilateral trade but also an increasing number of Spanish companies are establishing branches in Oman to share their knowhow and proven quality. Such companies include Union Fenosa, a partner of Qalhat Gas; Tecnicas Reunidas, which is involved in several oil and gas projects; Indra, which plays an important role in all commercial airport projects that require the development of an air-traffic management system; Assignia, which is collaborating on the Sohar Port project; and Cadagua, which is part of the consortium that recently won the contract for IWP construction in Gubrah to secure the provision of potable water in the Sultanate.
Tecna, of the Isolux Corsan Group, is also collaborating with Oman Gas Company in the extraction of LPG through the Salalah pipeline network. On Feb. 16, Ultra inaugurated a building at the new Oman International Airport, built by BECSA."
On how Omani investments in Spain are also profiting from the stable and promising framework, he added, "These are mainly focused on the oil and gas infrastructure and on chemical companies." He noted that Oman is the second-largest investor in Spain, in terms of volume, among all the countries in the Arabian Peninsula.
Sergio explained, "Our mutual interest and relationship is checked every year by the Economic and Trade Office of the Spanish Embassy in Muscat. We are receiving a growing number of trade missions. Some of these are regular missions, similar to those organised by the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, while others are more specialised. We also receive trade missions dedicated to specific sectors such as the trade mission of the federal railway industry from Spain.
"During the year 2013, five or six trade missions will be organised to visit Oman, and one trade mission will visit Spain from Oman. The Spanish Economic and Trade Office of the Spanish Embassy is also working with some Omani Ministries and entities to explore opportunities for collaboration in the tourism sector and for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)."
Sergio summed up by saying, "Oman's trade relations with Spain is among Spain's most recent partnerships, but the future roadmap for Spanish companies and their trade delegations in Oman seems to indicate that this partnership may well prove to be one of the most successful ties that either country has developed in recent years."