Muscat: Oman’s value of exports to India have more than doubled in the last four years, according to data from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
In 2017-18, the total value of goods India imported from Oman was US$4.264 billion (OMR1.64 billion), up from $1.752 billion (OMR670 million) in 2014-15, according to the Indian Government’s Export Import Data Bank.
The import value fell slightly to $1.673 billion (OMR640 million) in 2015-16, before dropping further to $1.275 billion (OMR490 million) in 2016-17, after which it rose sharply to its current figure. The total volume of trade between the two countries is about $6.7 billion (OMR2.58 billion).
During this time, trade from India to Oman has stayed more or less the same. It was $2.8 billion (OMR1.06 billion) in 2013-14, $2.739 billion (OMR1.05 billion) in 2014-15, $2.19 billion in 2015-16 (OMR840 million), $2.73 billion in 2016-17 (OMR1.05 billion) and 2.439 billion (OMR940 million) in 2017-18.
According to Munu Mahawar, India’s Ambassador to Oman, more trade can be expected between the two countries, as Oman embarks on its Tanfeedh policy of economic expansion, and looks to India to provide raw materials, as well as technical expertise. Tanfeedh aims at expanding Oman’s source of revenues away from its oil and gas-based sources, and into sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, mining and energy, transport and logistics, tourism and manufacturing.
“On an economic front, we have seen many positive developments,” he said. “We have seen several announcements of investment into Oman; you would have noticed that Indian companies are already among the leading investors in Sohar and Salalah, and I have seen a renewed interest in these companies to take advantage of the opportunities in Duqm. A high-level delegation from Oman went to India to explore opportunities for enhanced engagement. The leaders have basically laid out a roadmap for us to expand and deepen our relationships in various areas.”
“In 2019, our number one priority is to implement the decisions taken by the leaders, and to strengthen the cooperation existing in various areas of engagement, and to develop cooperation in new areas,” added Mahawar. “These have to reflect the priorities of both the governments, and I believe that Oman can be a strong partner for India in all five areas that have been identified under the Tanfeedh programme. I also believe that there are huge opportunities for Omani businesses in India. As India is growing, and as India is expanding, there are huge opportunities for us to work together. Enhancing economic engagement will be a top priority for us.”
The main items of India’s exports to Oman include mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, articles of iron or steel, electrical machinery and equipment, textiles and garments, chemicals, tea, coffee, spices, cereals, meat products and seafood.
In return, Oman exports fertilisers, mineral fuels, mineral oils, bituminous substances, mineral waxes, aluminium and aluminium articles, organic chemicals, salt, sulphur, earths and stone, plastering materials, lime and cement.
Ramanuj Venkatesh, a financial analyst with experience in both Oman and the UAE, added that Oman exporting more to India than it imported would lead to more social and economic development.
“When a country exports more than it imports, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of goods sold increases,” he said. “This means that there is more money coming into the economy, and this means that there is more money to spend on the country’s development. Oman is currently expanding its industrial output, so this money is very important for what the government needs to achieve. After many years of the downturn affecting people, this money means that people could have a bit more disposable income to spare.”
“As the number of industries in Oman increases, and the various products they make also increase in volume, it means that there will be more money generated from exports, which in turn will further fuel the economy if it is put back into the country,” added Venkatesh. “This will also help in the funding of many social programmes and looking after the needs of the society.”
A spokesman from the Ministry of External Affairs in India added, “India accords a high priority to expanding its economic and commercial ties with Oman. Bilateral trade and investment between India and Oman remain robust and buoyant.”
Indian business delegations regularly visit Oman to participate in important trade exhibitions in Oman. To facilitate business matchmaking with Omani companies for the Indian delegations, the Embassy regularly organises business-to-business meetings in sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure, construction, IT, minerals & mining, food & hospitality, ceramics and fire & safety.”