Thursday February 29, 2024

Oman unhappy with low trade with Pakistan, seeks diversification

By Our Correspondent
November 26, 2023

KARACHI: The Consul General of Oman in Karachi, Eng. Sami Abdullah Salim AlKhanjari, on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over the low level of trade between Oman and Pakistan, and urged the business community to explore more opportunities for exports and investment in the Gulf country.

Speaking at a meeting with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), AlKhanjari said that Pakistan had the potential to increase its exports of agricultural products, textiles, leather and other goods to Oman, which currently imports most of these items from far-flung countries such as China, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia and Somalia.

The Consul General of Oman in Karachi, Eng. Sami Abdullah Salim AlKhanjari visits the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Nov 25, 2023. —x/kcci_official
The Consul General of Oman in Karachi, Eng. Sami Abdullah Salim AlKhanjari visits the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Nov 25, 2023. —x/kcci_official

"Pakistan has been exporting rice, mangoes and potatoes only to Oman but what about onions, chilies, carrots, lemons and other agricultural products which can quickly reach Oman in fresh state but, unfortunately, Pakistan is nowhere in exporting all such and many other products to Oman", the envoy said.

Omani CG advised the business community of Karachi to look into the possibility of exporting more fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products to Oman so that the existing trade volume could be improved. “Pakistani rice being exported to Oman is one the best in world whose exports needs to be enhanced further. We not only require frozen meat but also live meat.”

He was of the opinion that Pakistan’s textile and leather products including towels and garments etc. hold good potential but these were also not being exported to Oman which also requires special attention.

He also invited the Pakistani investors to take advantage of the five ports in Oman, namely Salalah, Qalhat, Sohar, Duqm and Sultan Qaboos, which he said were the best in the Gulf region and had attracted investment from China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and many other countries.

"Saudi Arabia alone has invested more than $1 billion while another $1 billion is also on its way. India, which is a little far from Oman as compared to Pakistan, is also making good investment in Oman but Pakistan is not there, despite being closer to us."

AlKhanjari assured that the visa issue for Pakistani businessmen and traders would be resolved soon, as Oman was working on introducing a 'One Visa' facility for all GCC countries, similar to the Schengen visa in Europe.

“Why we are unable to improve trade. If it is a visa issue, we are dealing with it.” He also noted that thousands of Omanis were living in Pakistan, while around 300,000 Pakistanis were working and doing business in Oman in various fields.

The meeting was attended by First Secretary Consulate General of Oman Abdullah Juma Abdullah AlHarbi, Chairman Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Senior Vice President Altaf A. Ghaffar, Former President Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee Members.

Earlier, president KCCI Sheikh said Pakistan's exports to Oman stood at $193 million in FY23 which are much below the potential that exists between the two countries. "Both countries need to reduce trade barriers, diversify the range of products, simplify customs procedures, promote SMEs, and foster business collaboration to give a much-needed trade boost for economic integration."

He said the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) offers a wonderful platform for Omani investors to pursue lucrative opportunities in the energy, agriculture, livestock, information technology, mines & minerals sectors etc. as these sectors have immense potential for boosting bilateral and economic development between the two countries.

“Potential exists between Pakistan and Oman for expanding cooperation in various sectors including textile, halal, oil & gas sector, banks, transportation & infrastructure development to accelerate bilateral trade between the two countries.”