Mohsen Zarrabi said that as the Arab country is a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) and has free trade agreements with many countries with them Iran has no direct ties, it could be a proper hub for the re-export of Iranian commodities to different markets of world.
According to the data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), the value of trade between Iran and Oman has increased to USD870 million during the first seven months of this year from USD557 million in the same period in the past year.
While the number of Iranian companies registered in Oman was just 263 in 2014 (when President Hassan Rouhani visited Muscat), the figure reached 1,163 by the end of 2018. Iranian president’s trip to Oman led to the all-out expansion of economic ties between the two countries.
Also, despite the U.S. re-imposition of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Oman is getting closer to Iran both politically and economically. There is also the same approach adopted by Iran, as Iranian companies now prefer to conduct trade with Oman rather than the United Arab Emirates (UAE), given that the UAE is highly complying with the sanctions.
Iran is somehow replacing some of its previous strategic trade partners such as UAE with Oman, considering the Sultanate as an economic-trade hub. During the current year there have been many meetings and negotiations between trade and economic officials from the state-run and private sectors of the two sides with the aim of strengthening and expanding bilateral trade ties.
In a trip to Muscat in mid-July, Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani met a number of Omani senior officials including Minister of Transport and Communications Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi and Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Masoud al Sunaid and emphasized the need for strengthening transport and infrastructure cooperation between the two countries in order to provide basis for expansion of trade ties.
During a meeting with Rahmani, Al-Futaisi welcomed economic cooperation with Iran in all areas, saying that Oman’s policy is to develop relations with its neighbors, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it welcomes any strategy to expand all-out relations.
Sunaiday, for his turn, expressed his country’s eagerness for boosting trade with Iran, saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has significant capabilities and capacities that the two sides can tap in line with the national interests of the two countries.”
Developing sea transport between the two sides, facilitating visa issuance for Iranian and Omani traders, rising number of Iranian companies in Oman and also more competitive prices of Iranian products in the Omani market compared to the past are some of the major reasons behind expanded economic cooperation between the two countries.