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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Oman's economy is very open. Trade represents 120% of the country’s GDP (2012-2014 average). The Government hopes to ratify free trade agreements with the European Union, China and Japan, similar to the ones that were signed with the United States in September 2006. Customs duties are relatively small, and there are not many trade barriers in the country. Most goods produced in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are duty-free if accompanied by a certificate of origin. However, imported alcoholic beverages, tobacco and pork products are hit with 100% of customs fees.

The country possesses many assets, which facilitate the development of trade, such as its high-quality port facilities. However, slow procedures and rigid labour laws remain significant obstacles to trade. In 2013, an agreement was signed with the United States allowing unrestricted access to airline companies from both countries, which should establish direct air connections between Oman and the United States.

Oman's trade balance is structurally in surplus and is expected to remain so in the coming years. Despite the recent decrease in the price of oil, exports of hydrocarbons (70% of receipts) and petrochemicals, as well as an increase in the sale of industrial products, will compensate for the significant increase in imports due to a high demand for consumer goods and equipment. This should counterbalance the persistent deficit in services and transfers and lead to a substantial current account surplus, even though it has decreased steadily in recent years. In 2015, despite a 34.7% drop in exports, the trade surplus remained (OMR 2.2 billion).

Oman's leading trading partners are the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, Japan, India, South Korea, China and the United States.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20112012201320142015
Imports of Goods (million USD) 24,01928,63635,57729,30510,100
Exports of Goods (million USD) 47,09252,13856,42953,22139,244
Imports of Services (million USD) 7,7248,7679,80810,228n/a
Exports of Services (million USD) 2,3302,6892,9313,066n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 482019-10-3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 20612-2-9
Trade Balance (million USD) 25,59526,50924,38625,6779,119
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 116116128116109
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4345534753
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 7371757056

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - 2016.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2015
China 44.1%
United Arab Emirates 6.4%
India 3.4%
Saudi Arabia 3.2%
Japan 2.0%
Singapore 2.0%
Thailand 1.9%
South Korea 1.8%
Yemen 1.8%
United States 1.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2015
United Arab Emirates 35.0%
India 5.4%
China 5.0%
Saudi Arabia 4.0%
United States 3.6%
Netherlands 2.3%
Brazil 2.1%
South Korea 1.8%
Qatar 1.8%
Italy 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 

Main Products

31.9 bn USD of products exported in 2015
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 54.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.1%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 2.1%
Unwrought aluminium 1.9%
Acyclic alcohols and their halogenated, sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives 1.7%
Cyclic hydrocarbons 1.3%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.1%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 0.9%
Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 0.9%
Plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of non-cellular plastics, not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials, without backing, unworked or merely surface-worked or merely cut into squares or rectangles (excl. self-adhesive products, and floor, wall and ceiling coverings of heading 3918) 0.8%
29.0 bn USD of products imported in 2015
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 10.6%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430, n.e.s. 1.6%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 1.5%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 1.4%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 1.4%
Tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, seamless, of iron or steel (excl. products of cast iron) 1.3%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 1.2%
Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, incl. pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof 1.2%
Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 1.1%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.1%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

3.5 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Travel
44.22%
Transportation
36.09%
Other business services
15.96%
Communications services
2.55%
Insurance services
1.18%
10.1 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Transportation
38.69%
Other business services
33.02%
Travel
17.21%
Insurance services
9.96%
Communications services
1.12%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Last Available Data

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CASG)

Member of the Arab League.

The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property Department, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: June 2017