UAE-Oman Economic Forum opens up new channels for partnership between the two countries' business communities
17 Feb 2022
UAE-Oman Economic Forum opens up new channels for partnership between the two countries' business communities
H.E. Bin Touq: UAE-Oman relations are a unique model of fraternity and partnership. We will work closely to explore more opportunities and chart new paths of cooperation with a clear vision for the future.
H.E. Qais Yousef: The wise leaderships of both countries attach great importance to strengthening relations between the two sister countries
The second session of the UAE-Oman Economic Forum took place in Dubai today in the presence of H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; H.E. Qais Bin Mohammed Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion of Oman; H.E. Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; H.E. Abdullah Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and H.E. Eng. Redha Bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Trade. Nearly 80 government officials, investors, private sector representatives, and business leaders from the two sister countries also attended the Forum.
The Forum discussed frameworks for strengthening economic partnerships between the business communities of the two countries in order to enhance bilateral economic relations, stimulate mutual trade and investment flows, identify public, private sectors and programs for cooperation in the next phase, and open up new channels of communication and partnerships between the business communities of the two countries. It focused on the development of partnership in vital sectors included in the economic agendas of the two countries, such as innovation, renewable energy, water solutions, financial services, logistics, construction, real estate, and entrepreneurship.
The future of UAE-Oman partnership
H.E. Bin Touq emphasized the strength of the historic relations between the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman, which represent a unique global model of fraternity and friendship. They are the result of the shared desire of the two countries’ wise leaderships to continue promoting cooperation at the highest levels and are based on solid foundations of history and shared destiny, shared Islamic, Arab, and Gulf affiliations, shared goals and future aspirations, and identical stances on various regional and international issues.
“These well-established foundations reinforce our optimistic view of the future of UAE-Oman economic partnerships. This forum is an important platform for working closely to explore opportunities and chart new paths of cooperation and capitalize on the economic strengths of the two countries. It will help us fulfill the aspirations of both the UAE and Omani business communities to increase trade exchanges and launch more projects with full government support and a clear vision for the future.”
Furthermore, H.E. Bin Touq reviewed the most significant developments and achievements within the UAE economy during the past period and the initiatives and pilot projects recently launched by the country as part of its future vision. He highlighted the ‘Projects of the 50’ and the efforts to transition into a new, more sustainable and flexible economic model through the liberalization of investment, 100% foreign ownership of companies, and comprehensive historical developments in the economic legislation system, which facilitate business and enhance the country's attractiveness to leading projects, world-class companies, talent, and innovation.
The Minister of Economy concluded: “The Omani business community is a trade and investment partner of the UAE’s private sector in the truest sense. In light of the renewed vision and the integrated projects undertaken by the UAE to build the future, we invite the businessmen, investors and companies from the Sultanate of Oman to take advantage of these new developments in the UAE economy, and to explore the unique opportunities and incentives it offers. In turn, we are interested in promoting the trade and investment activities of the UAE companies in the Omani economy, which is characterized by its diversity, vast resources and rich opportunities in various sectors. We will encourage Emirati companies to further explore opportunities and establish investment projects in Oman.”
A shared vision of the two wise leaderships
In his speech at the forum, H.E. Qais bin Muhammad Al Yousef, Omani Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, said: “The wise leaderships of both countries attach great importance to strengthening relations between the two sister countries and continue to nurture the long-standing bilateral ties that have become a role model for relations between two neighboring countries. Both leaderships are keen to further develop these ties on all fronts to meet the aspirations of their people, which also serves the interests of both nations at regional and global levels. We firmly believe that the robust economic cooperation between the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman elevates the bilateral relations to new heights.”
H.E. added: “During our meetings with the UAE ministers, we look forward to exploring means to promote coordination and collaboration in the fields of economic integration, particularly in terms of trade, industry, and investments in sectors with great potential.”
Moreover, H.E. pointed out that the natural resources, investment incentives, and promising projects and opportunities offered by the Sultanate present UAE businessmen and investors with more growth prospects. He added that the areas of cooperation between the two countries’ private sectors will be explored in depth during the bilateral meetings that will be held as part of the Forum.
A unique partnership model
H.E. Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, underlined the strong and established relations between the two brotherly countries, and the special nature of these relations as they are not limited to interests and constructive cooperation in various fields only, but are based on a unique model of sincere brotherhood, good-neighborliness, kinship, and close social and family ties that enjoy great prestige among the two brotherly peoples. He pointed out the distinguished level of trade and investment cooperation between the UAE and Oman, which demonstrates the strength of the existing economic partnership between the two countries and its promising growth prospects for the future.
E. said: “The UAE is the largest global trade partner of the Sultanate of Oman. The country is the largest exporter to Oman and its largest importer, and accounts for more than 40 per cent of Oman's total imports from the world. The UAE also accounts for about 20 per cent of Oman's exports to global markets. The value of the non-oil trade exchange between the two countries amounted to more than AED 46 billion in 2021, with a 9 per cent growth from 2020. The average growth in the trade between the two countries over the last five years was nearly 10 per cent. The Sultanate of Oman is also the second largest GCC trade partner of the UAE, and accounts for 20 per cent of the UAE's total trade with the GCC states.”
In terms of investment, the UAE is the largest Arab investor and the third largest global investor in Oman. The country contributes to more than 8.2 per cent of the total FDI balance in Oman. The total value of mutual investments between the two countries is AED 15 billion, covering almost all sectors and economic activities.
The UAE’s hotel establishments welcomed more than 256,000 hotel guests from the Sultanate of Oman in 2021, with a growth of 32 per cent from 2020, in an additional indication of the return of tourism and commercial activity to its growth trajectory.
H.E. Al Zeyoudi concluded his speech by emphasizing the importance of supporting and promoting joint investments in the two countries and highlighted that the exchange of visits by business delegations have achieved numerous benefits. In addition, H. E. invited Omani business leaders to share the UAE’s success story in organizing Expo 2020 and urged them to contribute to intensifying FDI-exchanges in line with the deep-rooted relations between two countries founded on a shared destiny and history.”
Events at the Forum
At the Forum, the Omani business community was briefed on the incentives and benefits offered by the business and investment environment in the UAE as part of the country’s efforts to develop its economic model into a new model that is more flexible, sustainable and in line with future trends. The opportunities and promising sectors in the UAE were also reviewed in light of the launch of the ‘Projects of the 50’ and new government strategies to develop trade and expand connectivity and openness to global markets, attract investment and talent, and incubate leading projects.
Meanwhile, the Omani side reviewed investment opportunities, key sectors that offer them and the Omani government’s strategies and plans to support and foster the national investment environment and attract GCC, Arab and global FDI. The forum also witnessed a number of bilateral business meetings between UAE and Omani investors and entrepreneurs, where they discussed investment opportunities between the two countries and ways to strengthen partnership.
Federations of UAE Chambers
H.E. Abdullah Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, delivered a speech underlining that the UAE-Omani relations are witnessing a new phase of growth that is shaping the future of their commercial and industrial investment relations.
He delivered the speech at the opening of the Emirati-Omani business forum organized by the Ministry of Economy at the headquarters of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. It was attended by H.E Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; H.E Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion of Oman; and H.E Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; and Engineer Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The forum also witnessed the participation of major Omani companies operating in key sectors (food, real estate, retail, construction, insurance, and investments), as well as an array of senior business owners and investors from the two countries.
H.E. Al Mazrouei explained that over the past 50 years, the UAE business community has achieved impressive successes, benefiting from the encouraging investment environment created by the UAE government. He lauded the solid foundations it has established to attract investments in various fields and provide meaningful and safe opportunities for foreign investments. These include integrated infrastructure, amendments to legislative frameworks and highly developed communication and technology systems.
The Chairman of the Federation of Chambers indicated that the shared historical, geographical, and social ties between the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman reflect positively on the business sector in the two countries, especially in the fields of tourism, the exchange of experiences, studies and information between the chambers of commerce, and the promotion of products.
A continuing journey
Meanwhile, H.E. Eng. Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, confirmed that the private sectors in both Oman and the UAE play a vital role in economic development and driving economic diversification. This is what the Sultanate is focusing on through Oman Vision 2040, which sees the private sector as a major pillar of development. The vision seeks to encourage local and foreign FDI, especially in sectors that drive economic diversification, namely: manufacturing industries, logistics services, mining, tourism, and fisheries. On behalf of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he invited Omani and Emirati businessmen to take advantage of these opportunities and exchange experiences and knowledge to lead to the establishment of joint investment projects that contribute to economic growth in both countries. He further expressed the Chamber’s keenness to address challenges and difficulties that may hinder these efforts.
H.E. explained that the second Emirati-Omani Forum is an extension of the Oman-UAE economic and trade cooperation and empowers the private sector in the two countries.
Investments and discussions
The Forum discussed key developments in FDI exchanges between the two countries, as well as the strength of economic partnership and indicators, trade exchanges, and cooperation in entrepreneurship sector.
Furthermore, Thamer bin Saeed Al Shanfari, General Manager of Al Shanfari and Partners Company, underlined the strength and solidity of the Oman-UAE ties as a historical fraternal relationship, adding that the unity of the two peoples is reflected in the strength of economic relations and their sustainable growth. He noted that the UAE has significantly enhanced its openness to the world over the past years.
“Omani FDI is present in almost every economic and investment sector in the UAE, just like how Emirati businessmen and investments are present in various economic sectors in Oman, such as retail, building materials, auto components, real estate, industry, and others.” He lauded the good treatment of Omani merchants and investors in their second country, the UAE, and highlighted the same treatment enjoyed by Emirati investors in Oman.
Meanwhile, Khaula Al Harthy, Executive Director of Injaz Oman for Entrepreneurship Empowerment, stressed the importance of the forum, as it hosted many bilateral meetings under the patronage of both countries’ leaderships to enhance facilities available to investors in various economic and investment sectors. She further highlighted the potential of the discussions and sessions in facilitating joint projects in the field of SMEs and entrepreneurship.