The latest official figures show that Iran’s exports to Oman increased by about 400 percent after the removal of sanctions in January in what could be a strong indication that the Sultanate is already replacing the UAE as Iran’s the most important regional trade partner.
The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) announced in a statement quoted by media that Iran’s exports to the Sultanate shot up by 396.2 per cent to Omani Rial 183.1 million in the first half of 2016. The figure for the same period last year stood at Omani Rial 36.9 million.
Iran’s re-exports through Oman also soared by 23 per cent to Omani Rial 63.2 million in the first half of 2016, against Omani Rial 51.4 million in the corresponding period last year, The Times of Oman quoted NCSI as adding in its announcement.
In January, Iran’s domestic media quoted Yahya Al-e Es'haq, the former president of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, as saying that Iran can simply replace the UAE with Oman in foreign trade “thanks to the high potential of Iranian port”.
The announcement was made in reaction to a decision by the UAE – as well as several other regional Arab states – to downgrade relations with the Islamic Republic as tensions between Tehran and Riyadh over the execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr soared.
The UAE has for years been one of Iran's biggest trade partners. Figures show that Emirates exports to Iran stood at $12.24 billion and its imports from Iran reached $4.06 billion last year.
Iran is expected to emerge as a significant trading partner of the Sultanate following the end of trade sanctions, The Times of Oman further added. According to experts, bilateral trade between Oman and Iran is likely to touch $5 billion within five years, from the current $1 billion.
The two countries are working on several joint investment projects. They include the Iran-Oman gas pipeline, the Iran-Oman shipping line, and a $250-million shopping mall in Iran, to be developed by Omani investors. These, The Times of Oman added, are expected to further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.
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