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The India-Oman Joint Commission held its 8th session on 16th – 17th July, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. The Omani Delegation was headed by Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Indian side was led by Minister of Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu.

Both sides reviewed their bilateral trade and noted that the existing volume has shown remarkable growth since the last session of the Joint Commission in 2014. Indian side stated that the India-Oman bilateral trade has registered a growth from US$ 4131.69 million in 2014-15 to US$ 6703.76 million in 2017-18. India’s export to Oman has grown from US$ 2379.44 million to US$ 2439.46 million in 2017-18. The total FDI from Oman into India from April 2000 to March, 2018 was of the order of US$ 469.20 million with Oman ranking 31st in terms of Foreign Direct Investment in India.

In 2017-18 India’s top items of exports were petroleum (crude and products), products of iron & steel, rice-basmati, iron and steel, ceramic products, organic chemicals, copper and products made of copper, electronic components, industrial machinery for dairy. India’s top imports from Oman were petroleum (crude), fertilizers manufactured, petroleum products, aircraft, spacecraft and parts, organic chemicals, aluminium products, bulk minerals and ores, processed plastic raw materials and minerals.

Both sides stressed the importance of further enhancing trade relations and also to diversify the trade basket. Oman invited Indian investors in sectors like renewable energy and infrastructure.India informed that the potential products of export to Oman are petroleum products (light oils, coke), gold and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, parts of aeroplane and helicopters, agri items (rice, wheat, meslin flour, cane & beet sugar), textile articles (bedding), aluminium oxide and glazed ceramic.

India requested for reduction in customs tariff on Indian chemical products exported to Oman, which is approximately 5%. Reduction of tariff on items like dyes, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals, agro chemicals, cosmetics, glazed ceramic articles, aluminium alloys and tyres used in buses would provide better market access.

India and Oman agreed to obtain their respective internal approvals for early finalization of India-Oman Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).The India Oman Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is under revision. Meetings have been held during 2017 and 2018 on BIT and comments of the Omani side on the Indian Model BIT text are under consideration.

Both sides discussed the issue of Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO) and extension of Urea Off Take Agreement (UOTA) beyond 2020. The Indian side informed that the final approval for signing the amended UOTA is likely to take about two months.India further informed that since UOTA is valid till 2020, talks should start for extension of UOTA beyond 2020 and upto 2025. The Omani side informed that they are willing to consider extension of the existing UOTA beyond 2020. The Government of India is also proposing for continuation of the existing prices for the extension of validity of the Gas Supply Agreement (GSA).

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