• Oman Oman
Oman

Oman is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources, which generates 77% of government revenue. It is using enhanced oil recovery techniques to boost production. Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP from 46% to 9% by 2020. Muscat also is focused on creating more jobs to employ the rising numbers of Omanis entering the workforce. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy.

However, increases in social welfare benefits, particularly since the Arab Spring, have challenged the government's ability to effectively balance its budget as oil prices decline. Despite government acknowledgement that Oman’s expansive social welfare benefits are unsustainable, Oman authorities are comfortable with short-term budget deficits and have approved an expansionary 2015 budget. Concurrently, Oman has expanded efforts to support the development of small and medium-size enterprises and entrepreneurship. Government agencies and large oligarchic group companies have announced new initiatives to spin off non-essential functions to entrepreneurs, incubate new businesses, train and mentor up and coming business people, and provide financing for start-ups. (Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Macro economy: Oman’s petrochemicals segment is set for a major expansion with ongoing investment in downstream infrastructure and new facilities in the pipeline for the Sohar and Salalah industrial regions expected to contribute significantly to output before 2020. While plunging oil prices is seen as a concern, supply has increased due to increased investment in oil recovery techniques. Not to forget, tourism sector, which is an important contributor to the economy is also moving forward. Added to this is the development of Oman’s ports, rail and airports, which is expected to drive its reputation as a regional logistics hub.

Islamic economy: The Sultanate of Oman ranks #14 in the Islamic Growth Markets Investment Index, which ranks countries’ investment potential relative to other members within the OIC. However, Oman stands in the sixth position in the Global Islamic Economy Development Indicator produced by Thomson Reuters. The ranking evaluates quality of the overall Islamic economy ecosystem a country has relative to its size. According to the development indicator Oman is the fifth best developed Islamic economy for Islamic finance and Halal food segment, and fourth in the Islamic Finance Development Indicator. Thomson Reuters data shows that Oman’s Islamic banking assets are worth $3,497 million and the kingdom has three Islamic banks with six Islamic banking windows.

 

GIEI Ranking 6
Halal Ranking 7th in Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI 2015)/Crescentrating
Major Industries
MAJOR EXPORTS MAJOR IMPORTS

Petroleum

Reexports

Fish

Metals

Textiles

Machinery & Transport Equipment

Manufactured Goods

Food

Livestock

Lubricants

Source: Central Intelligence Agency

 

 

 

Halal-related agencies Intro
Halal compliance guidelines Intro

For more guidance regarding Halal Compliance, please reference the site for Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA)

To achieve this vision, Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology has taken prior measurements.  Issued by the 19 Council of Ministers Resolution No.10 of the national legislative system for Halal products in January 2014; the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology has now introduced a special 'Emirati system' for the control of Halal products. This system comprises of basic elements pertaining to Halal products, destination certificates and accreditation bodies such as the Halal certification mark that constitutes the optimal model to ensure the sequence of processing, and obtaining Halal products.

 

Halal-related trade and trading

Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has established a One-Stop Shop (business.gov.om) for government clearances, including the new Invest Easy online business registration system. The site is still under construction as of December 4, 2015.

Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Intro

Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa) is tasked with attracting foreign investors and smoothing the path for business formation and private sector development. Ithraa provides prospective foreign investors with information on government regulations.

Advantages of investing in Oman include:

  • Oman’s business-friendly environment, including the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement; a modern business law framework; respect for free markets, contract sanctity and respect of property rights; relatively low taxes; and a one-stop-shop at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for business registration;
  • An educated and largely bilingual Omani work force;
  • Quality of life: Oman is a safe, modern, friendly, and scenic country, with highly-ranked international schools, widely-available consumer goods, modern infrastructure, and a convenient and growing transportation network;
  • Oman’s geographic location, just outside the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, along busy shipping lanes carrying a significant share of the world’s maritime commercial traffic, with convenient access and connections to the Gulf, Africa, and the subcontinent;
  • The steady and ambitious investment by the Government of Oman (GoO) in the country’s infrastructure, including manufacturing free zones, seaports, airports, rail, and roads, as well as in its health care and educational systems and facilities. (Source: U.S. Department of State: 2015 Investment Climate Statement-Oman)
Investment and Export Promotion Agencies Names Oman Investment Fund
Trade Agreement

GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA) went into agreement January 1, 2015

The GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. - Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA) went into effect January 1, 2009

The U.S.-Oman FTA represents an important tool to foster continued economic engagement with Oman, open opportunities for U.S. farmers, manufacturers and services providers, and improve economic ties with a key U.S. ally. The FTA went into force on January 1, 2009.

The FTA between the United States and Oman spurs U.S. trade with Oman in goods and services by eliminating most tariff and nontariff barriers. Under the market access provisions of the FTA, the United States and Oman provided each other immediate duty-free access for tariff lines covering almost all consumer and industrial goods and 87% of all agricultural tariff lines. Both countries agreed to phase out all tariffs on the remaining eligible goods within 10 years.

The FTA contains trade facilitation measures designed to expedite the movement of goods and the provision of services between Oman and the United States; investment provisions intended to strengthen protections for U.S. investors operating in Oman, including allowing them to fully own a business without a local partner; and provisions on safeguards, intellectual property rights, government procurement, labor, environment, and dispute settlement to improve the regulatory climate for bilateral trade and investment. (Source: Export.gov)

Company ownership limits
(foreign and local)

The Foreign Capital Investment Law (Royal Decree No. 102/94) provides the legal framework for non-U.S. and non- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign investors. Oman amended this law in 2000 as part of its WTO accession and in 2009 to implement the United States-Oman FTA. For most investments (apart from those covered by the FTA) this law requires that there be at least 30 percent Omani ownership, and more frequently requires a majority stake. There are exceptions; notably wholly foreign-owned branches of foreign banks are allowed to enter the market. Non-U.S. investors may also obtain approval by the Council of Ministers to allow a 100 percent foreign-owned business entity if the investment is in the national interest.