Oman agrees to issue 1,000 visas per annum for Iranian businessmen
March 25, 2016 | 8:49 AM
by A E JAMES [email protected]
Oman has agreed to issue 1,000 visas for Iranian businessmen per annum. - Times file photo

Muscat: Oman has agreed to issue 1,000 visas for Iranian businessmen per annum for facilitating bilateral trade and investment between the two friendly countries, an Iranian minister told the Oman Economic Forum here on Thursday.

“Oman’s minister of foreign affairs was in Tehran few weeks ago. He said that Oman will issue 1,000 visas in a year. We expect it to materialise within a couple of weeks so that Iranian businessmen and investors can come easily,” said Eng. Mohammed Reza Nematzadeh, Iran’s minister of industry, mines and trade.

“(Earlier) we had little bit problem in getting visa for business people (who intend to visit Oman).”

Nematzadeh said that from Iran issues visas for Omani businessmen within an hour from its embassy in Muscat.

However, Said bin Saleh Al Kiyumi, chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said that the Sultanate’s government should not confine number of visas for Iranian businessmen to 1,000, rather consider all visa requests. “If there is a need for 10,000 visas, let us issue 10,000 visas. We want both governments to open doors,” he added.

Al Kiyumi noted that Oman’s imports from Iran include cattle and carpets, while the Sultanate’s exports to the country are mainly equipment and vehicle.

Highlighting the challenges faced by both countries in strengthening trade relations, Al Kiyumi said that lack of communication between the private sectors of both countries and port facilities are adversely affecting trade. “OCCI started working with Iran for strengthening trade. The chamber has already lead several business delegations to Iran.”

However, Al Kiyumi noted that the recently launched fortnightly shipping service between Sohar and Bandar Abbas is not getting enough cargoes to make it viable.

Iranian industry minister said that the banking relations between his country and Iran will be normalised as soon as possible. “We have Bank Melli Iran branch here and other Iranian banks are ready to open branches in Muscat,” added Nematzadeh.

Nematzadeh also noted that there are a lot of room for strengthening trade between the two countries. “Our existing economic relation is too low, we have a lot of potential on both sides. There are several potential areas for investment in both countries,” added Nematzadeh.

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