Oman: GCC’s Emerging Economy
By staff - Tue May 29, 9:15 pm
The Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (PAIPED) in partnership with the Muscat-based International Research Foundation (IRF) released the results of the World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Enabling Trade Report.
On the export front, and according to figures released by the former Ministry of National Economy, Oman has seen the value of its non-oil exports rise to RO3.033 billion in 2011 a jump of 23.8 per cent from RO2.448 billion in 2010 This success is in line with the export strategy developed by PAIPED which identified thrust products and target markets.
“There are a lot of innovative Omani companies out there which are seriously growing their exports. Evidence shows there’s a positive link between innovation, research and development and export. This is where Omani companies are focusing their attention. Our new affiliation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will significantly help us take our work on and up,” commented the Authority’s Faris Al Farsi, Acting Director General of Export Development.
“We’re delighted to see that Oman has jumped from 29th to 25th in this year’s Enabling Trade Index. Since 2009, Oman has moved up nine places in this important Index. This is testament to the fact that Oman enjoys a business environment that is conducive to trading and is constantly looking for ways to improve this,” remarked HE Dr. Salem ben Nasser Al Ismaily, Chairman, PAIPED.
Singapore and Hong Kong SAR continue to occupy the top two positions in the 2012 Global Enabling Trade Report, followed by Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand. Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and Luxembourg complete the top-10 while Oman climbs four places to 25th among 132 countries.
On the GCC front, Oman is ranked second after the UAE which is the best performer at 19th, though dropping from 16th. Saudi Arabia jumps from 40th to 27th; Bahrain drops eight places to 30th; Qatar moves up from 34th to 32nd; while Kuwait moves down one from 65th to 66th in this year’s Enabling Trade Index rankings.
Published for the fourth year in a row and covering 132 economies worldwide, The Global Enabling Trade Report 2012 reflects a world in which trade has rebounded from its 2009 slump.
“We’re living in a world where trade is no longer dominated by developed economies but is more concentrated in and among emerging economies. This shift highlights the virtuous role trade plays in economic growth and development,” said HE Dr. Al Ismaily.
At the core of the report is the Enabling Trade Index which ranks countries using data from different sources including the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey, the International Trade Centre, the World Bank and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The Enabling Trade Index measures the factors, policies and services that facilitate the trade in goods across borders and to destination and is made up of four sub-indexes that include: market access; border administration; transport and communications infrastructure; and business environment. Each of these sub-indexes contains two to three pillars that assess different aspects of a country’s trade environment.
The PAIPED Chairman said: “When countries enable trade, they provide benefits not only for the domestic market but also to other nations with which they trade. Improved market access, more efficient customs, better infrastructure and business environments offer enhanced opportunities for Omani importers and exporters. And from this year’s Report it’s evident that we’re making solid progress on these fronts.”
International trade is not a new a concept. Fourteenth century traders transported silk and spices through the Silk Route. In the 1700s fast sailing ships brought tea from China and spices from the Dutch East Indies. In fact, international trade has a rich history and continues to play a pivotal role in today’s global economy.
Commenting on the current global economic climate HE Dr. Al Ismaily said: “Without trade there will be no global recovery. Look back at history and trade drove post-World War II recovery in Japan, Europe and the US and has been the engine of growth in Asia in recent years and it’s trade that will help lead countries out of this current difficult economic period.”
The PAIPED Chairman went on to add: “Penetrating distant markets will be a marathon, not a sprint for Omani firms. And it is organizations such as PAIPED that will play a key role in encouraging domestic businesses to export and help facilitate the re-orientation of existing Omani exporters towards bigger emerging export markets.”
There is no denying that international trade is beneficial to Oman as it opens up opportunities for domestic firms in global markets and increases competition both on the domestic and international fronts. However, international trade alone cannot bring economic growth and prosperity to Oman. There are many other factors such as flexible trade policies, favourable macroeconomic scenario and political stability that need to be there to complement gains from trade.
“The results from the 2012 Global Enabling Trade Report clearly demonstrate the progress Oman is making. Indeed, the government and business community will continue to work hard together to increase international trade and reap the rewards,” concluded HE Dr. Al Ismaily.