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Oman, Japan ink deal to promote joint investments

Oman, Japan ink deal to promote joint investments

The deal is expected to increase Japanese investments in Oman

Oman and Japan have signed an agreement to encourage and promote joint investments and trade, state news agency WAM reported.

The deal will encourage businessmen from Japan to invest in Oman, while the latter will ease the regulatory atmosphere for Japanese firms, a statement said.

Officials did not provide an estimate of the growth they expect to see in investments after the deal takes effect.

The value of annual trade between Japan and Oman was about $7.34bn in 2014, Japan’s ambassador to Oman George Hisaeda was quoted as saying in Times of Oman earlier this month.

“In 2014, imports from Oman to Japan were around $3.84bn and exports from Japan to Oman were around $3.50bn,” he said.

“Japan is one of Oman’s largest importers of oil and natural gas, but we also import vegetables, aluminum, and fishery products, like cuttlefish or white fish fillet from Oman.”

Japanese firms also have sizeable projects in the Sultanate.

Recently, Japanese firm Mitsui &Co was part of a consortium that won the contract from Oman’s government to build and operate a $630m, 445 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at the city of Raysut. Saudi Arabia-based ACWA power was the other partner in the consortium.

Oman, which lacks large fiscal buffers like its other Gulf neighbours, has been adversely affected by the ongoing oil price volatility. But such investment pacts could help fuel economic growth and create more jobs, experts say.

Earlier this year, Oman’s sovereign wealth fund State General Reserve Fund and Spain’s Compania Espanola de Financion del Desarollo announced the establishment of a fund to finance Spanish firms.

The fund will initially be 200 million euros ($220m) in size and will support companies that are interested in doing business in Oman and other Gulf countries.

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