An Oman-UK FTA likely soon

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A free trade agreement (FTA) between the Sultanate of Oman and Britain is likely to be concluded by the two parties and discussions are currently underway for a region-wide FTA, we learned.

Such an agreement will benefit both the GCC and the UK, as the GCC is the UK’s 4th largest trading partner after the US, Europe and China.

“Multilateral negotiations are ongoing through the GCC as a trading bloc and therefore no bilateral negotiations are taking place. However, there are great possibilities for such an agreement between the GCC and the UK,” he said. said Mohsin bin Khamis al Balushi, adviser to the Foreign Ministry. Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP).

Experts have estimated that a post-Brexit free trade agreement between the UK and the Sultanate of Oman is likely to boost trade between the two countries, as well as speed up the process of diversification in the Sultanate of Oman. Oman.

Speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of Lulu British Food Week, Bill Murray, the British Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, said Britain was looking for wide reach for the FTA as it maintains excellent commercial and socio-cultural relations with the region.

“The FTA that will be concluded by both Britain and Oman will be an important step as Oman and other GCC countries will work towards what they want to achieve through this. So there is an opportunity to develop further with the support of private suppliers of UK goods,” Murray said, adding, “We will identify the goods and services that these countries will benefit from under the agreement.”

“Such an FTA, direct investment in Oman and enhanced trade relations, especially in the energy and retail sector, will benefit Oman, the Sultanate of Oman, in its renewed renaissance, seeking to diversify its economy and not rely solely on the hydrocarbon sector and thus seek better trade relations with the UK,” said Micheal Eyley, Director of Trade and Investment in Oman at the British Embassy. .

Representatives further said that the UK accounts for almost half of all foreign direct investment in Oman, but wants to further diversify it into future sectors such as green energy, shipping, logistics and fintech. A Sovereign Investment Partnership was signed between the UK and Oman in January 2022 to coordinate investment back and forth (and in third markets) so the UK and Oman can create more high-skilled jobs for the future.

“The FTA will be a GCC-UK FTA because the GCC operates as an economic bloc and such an FTA will boost trade and possibly reduce the cost of imported goods for consumers,” he added.

A wide range of sectors, from energy to consumer goods, family-friendly food and beverages and other areas, will be explored under the FTA which is currently in the discussion stage and negotiations.

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