Muscat: Oman’s strategic location will help it become a major centre in the world’s economy in the years to come, says Yu Fulong, China’s ambassador to Oman.
“Oman is situated in a very important location in the world and this means it has many advantages for trade and export, as well as to develop its domestic economy across many sectors,” he said.
“This is a country blessed with natural resources and good ambitions. It’s not just China, but many other countries that have very good relations with Oman, and Oman’s diversification coincides with China’s One Belt One Road policy,” added Fulong.
“Oman can have big amounts of trade from the northern corridor of this policy, as well as connect the east and the west. Oman is in the middle of China’s Silk Road, which passes through the Straits of Malacca to India and Sri Lanka, passes through Oman, and then goes on to Europe.”
Oman is one of about 100 nations that are part of China’s One Belt One Road policy, an ambitious trade plan that connects countries from Asia to Europe, with significant investment in trade, manufacturing and logistics planned across all of these nations. As part of this plan, China has already invested about $2 billion in Oman, across sectors, such as oil and gas, manufacturing and infrastructure, chiefly around the port of Duqm, which is being developed to become Oman’s super city of the future, and is expected to be the heart of Oman’s Tanfeedh goals for economic diversification.
A total of $13.2 billion has already been pledged to Oman, by Chinese enterprises.
“Oman’s strategies are similar to those of other countries of the One Belt One Road plan, and that is why, the policies used here will benefit all the nations involved,” added Fulong.
“This is an open platform for everyone to join. All countries are free to join it, and that is why we have had a positive response from many nations, including European ones, such as Britain, Germany and France.”
“Cargo ships that travel to London will stop at Indian ports and then come to Oman, before making their way to Europe, so this is an open platform for Oman to work together with other countries,” he explained. “Also, what Oman needs is what China can offer: infrastructure is needed in huge capacity in terms of roads, ports and railways.”
“For example, we Chinese have designed a railway that can travel at up to speeds of 350 kilometres per hour, and this travels across a track that is one of the longest in the world,” said Fulong.
“If Oman needs technology like this to develop its manufacturing industries and its economy, China can offer this to them. We offer our equipment and our scientific research to Oman.”
China believed in adopting a fair policy with all members of its One Belt, One Road plan, added the ambassador. “Oman needs a number of products that China can offer, but we understand that other countries can offer this as well,” added Fulong. “This is a competitive market, which is why we say to others that if you like what we have, that’s okay, but if you don’t like it, that’s okay as well. That is our policy with Oman, and it is the same policy we have with other developing countries, and we believe Oman can benefit from this.”
“We see Oman as a good partner,” he added. “We have invested about $2 billion so far, but we understand that this is a small amount, and in future, we will plan more. Countries today depend on each other increasingly, and no country can develop by itself, behind closed doors.”