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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 13:17
The Omanis have been traders since ancient times. Their ships and caravans carried Omani goods - including frankincense, dates and limes - across the seas and over the old frankincense and silk routes, promoting ties and cultural exchanges with other peoples.
Today, Oman is a member of several economic blocs including the Arab Gulf Co- operation Council (AGCC), the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The Sultanate has upgraded its laws on investment activity and has introduced “One Stop Shop” clearance facilities along with simplified, transparent procedures. There is close coordination between the bodies and authorities involved in providing services for investors, while current moves towards the establishment of e-government have led to a growing reliance on electronic channels. Commercial laws and regulations are being streamlined, including the Law on Trade Marks, Descriptions, Trade Secrets and Protection against Unfair Competition, the regulation of foreign trade representation offices, the Consumer Protection Law and the Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property. Alongside these measures, the country has also upgraded its ports and established free trade zones in al Mazyounah and Salalah.
Omani goods are exported to the markets of over 100 countries around the world, its main trading partners are the United Arab Emirates, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Somalia, China, South Korea, Germany and the United States. Government authorities and departments give priority to Omani products when making purchases and Omani goods are actively promoted in the local market through seminars and exhibitions.
Broader promotion campaigns are also held in the regional and world markets, where Omani products have already begun to make their mark because of their high quality specifications. May 2006 saw the launch of the “Map of Omani Products” - an internet website which provides information about some 72 sectors. The second edition of the “Guide to Trade Secrets” was published in Arabic and English. This book includes information about export procedures and other facts about exports for small and mediumsized businesses for the benefit of Omani companies that intend to export their products. The “Guide to Trade Secrets” was published in collaboration with the Omani Centre for Investment Promotion and Export Development (OCIPED) and the World Trade Office in Geneva.The Ministry of Commerce and Industry was granted a certificate by the United Kingdom’s Human Investment Programme, recognizing it as an investor in human resources.