28/09/2017 05:41 AST

Large number of Omani companies, including several small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), are negotiating with local businesses and investors to establish partnerships aiming to set up factories and production units in Qatar, said a senior official of Oman’s Public Authority for SMEs Development (riyada), an initiative of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. Qatar, given its climatic conditions and lack of natural water and geographical factors, largely depends on food imports.

The local food production meets nearly 15 percent of the total demand in the country, and the reset were traditionally sourced from neighbouring states. But with the blockade in place, Qatar has now identified new destinations, which include Oman, Kuwait, Turkey, Iran and other South Asian countries.

Qatar and Oman have signed a number of agreements and MoUs to expand and enhance bilateral cooperation.

The volume of trade exchange between Qatar and Oman in 2016 was about QR2bn, which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Oman is the 25th trading partner of Qatar. The Qatari market has 350 joint Omani-Qatari companies engaged in contracting, engineering, services and industry. Omani product were traded in Doha previously, but over the last three months trade relations between the two sides are witnessing sharp growth. “Out of the 100 participants in this edition of the Omani Products Exhibition (OPEX) in Doha, there are some 27 SMEs, working under ‘riyada’, who are showcasing their products in the expo. Like many other big Omani companies, these SMEs are looking to establish partnerships with local businesses to set up factories in Qatar,” Abdullah Ali Khamis Al Senaidi, Acting Director of Evaluation & Follow-up Department at ‘riyada’ told The Peninsula.

Abdullah added: “These firms are producing a wide range of high quality products which include different types of plastic products, marbles, steel, paper products such as cups, plates, tissue papers, and firms that are dealing in incense, perfumes and other items.”

He said that many of these companies are participating in Qatar for the second time. These SMEs are owned and run by self-employed Omanis who are fully dedicated to these firms, and do not work any other government or private organisations.

“Many of these firms are more than 10 years old producing quality products, which are not only meeting the domestic demands but also export their products to many countries in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Abdullah.

He noted that the government of Oman, like many other states in the region, is extending all the possible support to SMEs to help them establish, grow and expand their footprints outside the country.

“We believe that forums like OPEX will be of great help to enhance bilateral cooperation with Qatar and Oman. And soon more Omani companies will start producing their products in Qatar,” said Abdullah.

The second edition of the OPEX, which is schedule to conclude today at DECC, was organised by the joint efforts of Qatar Chamber, Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and Oman’s Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa). “The 2013 OPEX-Doha show was extremely well received. We knew there was a need for a large international Omani products initiative in Qatar but the show’s success exceeded all expectations.

It was clear from the amount of business conducted and the number enquiries received that Oman-made products are valued by Qatari businesses, retailers and consumers. In fact, we see Qatar as a key growth market for Omani manufactures that is why we are back,” said Ayman Abdullah Al Hasani, Chairman of OPEX – Organising Committee, and Vice-Chairman of OCCI.


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