FTAs contribute to economic and trade ties development
MUSCAT: The GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is considered a major initiative for the bloc to achieve coordination, integration and connection among member countries in all fields, especially coordination of their policies and commercial relations with members, not to mention the economic, regional and international gatherings aimed at strengthening their negotiation powers and ability to compete in international markets.
The Government of the Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is exerting great efforts in developing the industrial, commercial and investment sector as an important resource for the national economy towards diversification of sources of income to reduce reliance on oil as the main supplier, in addition to creating employment opportunities for the national workforce in the private sector.
The GCC Affairs Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has sought to find bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the sisterly and friendly countries in the trade, economy, investment and technical fields.
Sayyidah Jumana bint Said al Busaidiyah, Director of Trade Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, explained that the number of records of investors from Singapore, EFTA countries, Switzerland, Denmark, Liechtenstein and Iceland in the Sultanate reached 118 records till the end of 2016.
She pointed out that the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC and Singapore is the first agreement signed between the GCC countries and a country outside the Middle East region.
The agreement was implemented since the beginning of April 2015 which provides for the exemption of Singapore for all goods of Gulf origin in exchange for the exemption of the GCC countries for specific lists of Singaporean goods in the agreed timeframe, in addition to the availability of many opportunities for GCC companies and institutions operating in the GCC countries, especially in the sectors of trade and services, as well as the establishment of strategic partnerships in other sectors and fields with Singaporean companies possessing advanced technology. — ONA