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Muslimtrade Network members
about Oman.

O  M  A  N 


1 GENERAL PRESENTATION: 
1-1 General characteristics:
1-2. General Information:
1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships:


2. TRADE STRUCTURE:  
2-1. Main exported products (1996):
2-2. Main imported products (1996):
2-3 Main trading partners (1996):


3. FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL:  
3-1. Imports regulations:
3-2 Exports regulations:
3-3 Other formalities and documents:


4-FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF FOREIGN TRADE OPERATIONS:  
4-1 Banking system:
4-2. Exchange system:
4-3. Methods and means for international settlement:


5- CUSTOMS TAXATION:  
5-1 Applicable duties and taxes:
5-2.Special provisions:


6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC:  
6-1 International transport:
6-2 Telecommunications:
6-3 distribution system:

  
7. USEFUL ADDRESSES:

GENERAL PRESENTATION: 

1-1 General characteristics: 

Official Name Sultanate of Oman
Area 309000 square kilometers
Population 2.17 million inhabitants in 1996.
Density 7 inhabitants per square kilometer
Capital Muscat
Climate Sultanate of Oman’s climate is one of the driest of the world. It is tropical with oceanic influences on coastal lands and monsoons on the southern area. It is hot and dry during the year except in the mountainous areas. Temperatures vary between 15 in winter and 50°C in summer. Humidity is significant in December to the North and from July to September to the South. Rains are rare and violent on mountainous massifs.
Main holidays January 1st, march 8th, November 18th (Independence Day: 3 to 5 days), Ira wa miraj*, Eid-ul-Fitr*, Eid-ul-Adha*, Muharram 1st* and Eid-ul Mouloud*. (*) Variable dates.

1-2. General Information:    

Languages:  Arabic is the official language. English is also spoken in business circles
Currency:  Omanian Rial (OMR) 1US$ = 0.38 OMR end of 1995.
Local time: GMT + 4.
Working hours: Private sector: Saturday-Wednesday: From 8 a.m. to 13 p.m. and from 16 p.m. to 19 p.m. / Thursday: From 8 a.m. to 13 p.m.  

Public sector: Saturday-Wednesday: From 7.30 a.m. to 14.30 p.m. / Thursday morning: Chambers of commerce and industry of Oman and Muscat. 

Banks: Saturday-Wednesday: From 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. / Thursday: From 8 am to 11.30 am. 

Post offices: Saturday-Wednesday: From 7.30 a.m. to 14 p.m. / Thursday: From 7.30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships: 

The Sultanate of Oman is member of the following international organizations:

World Trade Organization (WTO); 
United Nations Organization (UNO) and its specialized organs (IMF, World Bank); 
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); 
Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC); 

In addition to several co-operation agreements it has signed with several countries in the world, the Sultanate of Oman signed mutual investments incentives and co-operation conventions with Germany, Egypt, France, Italy, and fiscal conventions with France, India, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan. At the beginning of 1993, the Omani and Yemeni Chambers of Commerce co-operation relations to develop trade and investments and have recommended establishing a joint commercial bank. The government of Oman signed an economic co-operation agreement with Ukraine in April 1993 in the field of energy; With Iran it signed a joint venture agreement in the field of oil industry. It also signed with Qatar on September16, 1995 the agreement on the movement of individuals, the same agreement was concluded with the United Arab Emirates.

Investments agreements were signed between the Sultanate and France (17th October 1995), China (March 18th 1995), Sweden (July 15th, 1995) and the United Kingdom (November 25th, 1995).

2. TRADE STRUCTURE: 

2-1. Main exported products (1996): 
Petroleum; 
Halieutic products; 
Processed copper; 
Textiles. 

2-2. Main imported products (1996): 
Machinery and transport equipment; 
Manufactured goods; 
Foodstuffs; 
Live animals and livestock products; 
Lubricants. 

2-3 Main trading partners (1996): 

Main suppliers

Main customers

United Arab Emirates

Japan

Japan

Korea

United Kingdom

Thailand

France

China

Germany

United States of America

United States of America

Singapore


3. FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL: 

3-1. Imports regulations: 

The Omani customs regulations are among the most liberal compared to the other countries of the Gulf. As a matter of fact, the Sultanate neither prohibits the import of alcoholic beverages nor of pork meat. 

Besides, it is necessary to obtain a prior license from the Omani Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) for the import of Pork meat, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals, some agricultural products, polyethylene, copper cables, electric water heater, tightness products, and foam-rubber mattress, babies diapers, metallic fences, cement tiles and articles thereof, aluminum shapes, detergent products, mineral water and goods locally produced.

Only the companies that are listed on the Omani trade register are allowed to carry out import operations. Goods requiring after sales service must have an Omani agent to be cleared. There are no customs surcharges and the import of samples used for business ends are duty-free.  

Imports from Israel and Yugoslavia are prohibited.

Import documentary requirements are as follows: 

Commercial invoice: The original commercial invoice must be submitted for legalization. The invoice should contain an accurate description of goods, including weight, quantities and values. The determination of the true value is important to facilitate customs taxation. The invoice should contain a signed statement that it is true and correct and certified by the appropriate Chamber of Commerce. 
Certificate of origin: The certificate of origin must be certified by the appropriate Chamber of Commerce and legalized. 
Bill of lading: The original of bill of lading (or airway bill) must be submitted for legalization certification with the other documents. There are no regulations specifying the form or number of bills of lading required for any particular shipment. A bill of lading usually shows the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description of goods, the listing of the freight and other charges, the full number of bills of lading and the date and signature of the carrier’s official acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment. The information should correspond to that shown on the invoices and the packages. The airway bill replaces the bill; of lading on air cargo shipments. 

3-2 Exports regulations: 

A commercial invoice, a certificate of origin, whose original copies must be countersigned by the Omani consular service, must accompany all shipments of goods to the Sultanate of Oman.

The following documents are required for exports:

Health certificates: Health certificates are necessary for fruit, vegetables, foodstuffs, and similar products. Plants and plant products and filling and packaging materials must be approved by agricultural quarantine authorities before importation to ensure that products are free from agricultural pests and that necessary conditions are provided to treat goods before they leave the exporting country. 

Import of agricultural soil and organic manure is forbidden. Seeds, seedlings, cereals and material for seed growing must be accompanied by health certificate issued by government authorities in the country of origin. 

A veterinary medical certificate stating that the animals have been examined and declared fit must cover the import of live animals, meat and related products.

Steamship certificate: A steamship/ Airline certificate may be required by the letter of credit or requested by the importer. It is required to ensure that the goods would not stop at or pass through any Israeli port or airport before arrival in Oman. 

3-3 Other formalities and documents:  

All foodstuffs must be labeled with the product and brand names; and indicate the quantity of ingredients; additives, the content , production and expiration dates, the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, exporter, importer, or retailer, country of origin, and storage, transportation, and preparation instructions.

Labels for specific products such as diet and infant foods must contain additional information about vitamins, supplements and minerals. 

4-FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF FOREIGN TRADE OPERATIONS: 

4-1 Banking system:  

The Sultanate of Oman is provided with a central bank establishes in 1994 called the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) which closely controls the monetary policy. This country is provided with a large bank network composed of 18 commercial banks of which 7 are local and 11 branches of foreign institutions and 3 specialized banks. Some of these banks are as follows: Oman Housing Bank (OHB), it extends housing assistance to low or middle income citizens, Oman Development Bank (ODB) specialized in the financing of the industrial projects Export and Oman Bank for Agriculture and fisheries (OBAF). There are local and foreign banks: 

Local Banks: Bank Dhofar Al Omani Al Fransi, Bank Muscat Al Ahli Al Omani, Bank of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, Commercial Bank of Oman, National Bank of Oman, Oman Arab Bank, Oman international Bank.

Foreign Banks: Anz Grindley Bank PLC, Bank of Baroda, Banque de L’ orient Arabe et d’outre mer (BANORABE), Bank Melli Iran, Bank Saderat Iran, British Bank For the Middle-East, Citibank n.a., Habib Bank ag Zurich, Habib Bank Limited, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Standard Chartered Bank. 

All of these banks form 250 agencies scattered all over the country.

4-2. Exchange system 

The Omani Rial is entirely convertible. It is linked to the cost of the dollar according to a fix parity of about 2,6008 US dollars. The exchange control authority is the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).There are no exchange control regulations.

4-3. Methods and means for international settlement:  

Exchange for payments abroad for authorized imports may be obtained freely. The Sultanate of Oman is characterized by the quasi- absence of trade disputes. In general commercial suppliers easily collect their debts. Therefore, all the methods and means of payment are acceptable. Yet to avoid any risk it is advisable for a beginning to keep the irrevocable and confirmed letter of credit.

5- CUSTOMS TAXATION: 

5-1 Applicable duties and taxes: 

Some products competing with national production such as cement, plastic and polyethylene products, vegetable and .hydrogenated oils, car battery, asbestos products, paints, detergents and electric lamps are subject to overcharged rates by 5 to 100%.

Products exempted from customs duties are the following: live animals all meats except for pork meat, unsweetened milk, melted butter, seeds, sugar, fertilizers, insecticides, agricultural material, rice, wheat, wheat flour, maize, barley, fresh fruit and vegetables, edible oils, tea, live plants and goods imported by the government.

Ad valorem duties: most duties are levied on a CIF ad valorem basis. 
Preferential duties: There are preferential duties between Oman and the Gulf Co-operation Council countries. 
Customs surcharges: there are no customs surcharges. 

5-2.Special provisions: 

Some products are subject to the following taxes:

Alcoholic beverages: 100% 
Pork meat: 100% 
Tobacco: 100% 

There is also another tax called protective tariffs : 10 to 50% (bananas 25%), and the rate of fruit and vegetables is assessed on seasonal basis. 

6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC: 

6-1 International transport: 
Maritime transport: The neighboring ports of the United Arab Emirates compete with those of Oman (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). On these grounds the Government has drawn up a development and extension program. Besides, two large ports are to be soon constructed: Al Ghalilah (gas port) and Sohar. A project of a free trade area is under consideration by the Omani government as well as the creation of a new industrial zone. 

The main ports are Port of Sultan Qaboos in Muscat (it accounts for 95% of goods traffic), the port of Raysut near Salalah and the port of Mina Al Fahal (petroleum port).

Air transport: The Sultanate of Oman is provided with two main airports: Seeb in Muscat and Salalah in the south of the country. There is the sultanate of Oman some small regional aerodromes of which Haima and Izki. 

The Sultanate has created its own national company since 1993 called Oman Air and holds 25% of the shares of the Gulf Air. Several companies serve the Muscat and Seeb airports.

Land transport: The sultanate of Oman is provided with an important road network extending over more than 29,202 km of which 5,831 asphalted roads and 23,371 km of tracks. There is no railway network in the Sultanate of Oman. 

6-2 Telecommunications:  

The General Telecommunications Organization manages a fully expanding network. As a matter of fact from 1970 to 1993, the telephone lines of the network increased from 500 to 147,784. As concerns the mobile telephone, the numbers of subscribers has exceeded the capacity of the network.

6-3 distribution system:  

Even though Muscat the capital is provided with numerous trading centers, there is no large distribution. The latter is ensured by Omani importing agents that are generally specialized in a specific field of activity and are provided with their own distribution network One agent is sufficient for the whole country. About twenty business groups monopolize a large part of the trading activities. 

7. USEFUL ADDRESSES: 

Organizations and public establishments

Addresses

Tel/Telex/Fax

Ministry of commerce and industry. Export Promotion Section and Directorate. General of investment Promotion  P.O.Box. 550 Muscat 113 Tel : (968) 774173 

Telex: 3665 wizara on 

Fax : (968) 794238
Public Authority for Marketing Agricultural Produce P.O.Box. 909 Muscat  Tel : (968) 564800 

Fax : (968) 591547
Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Public Relation Department P.O.Box. 4400 Ruwi Tel : (968) 707674 

Telex: 3389 alghorfa on 

Fax : (968) 708497
Central Bank of Oman P.O.Box. 4161 Ruwi Tel : (968) 702222 

Telex: 3794 

Fax : (968) 707913



 
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