On Friday 7 July a series of events were held in London which underlined the strength of the economic and business relationship between the UK and Oman.
An investor breakfast was organised by the Omani-British Business Council (OBBC) and the Omani British Friendship Association (OBFA). An audience of investors and major UK corporations heard from HE Talal Al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, about the Sultanate’s Tanfeedh programme for diversifying the economy.
Mr Ismail Al Balushi, COO of Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD), and Saleh Al Hasni, One Stop Shop Manager, then gave a comprehensive presentation on the ambitious plans for further developing Duqm. HE Maqbool Sultan, Chair of OBFA, spoke of the importance of the UK-Oman relationship and a lively discussion was moderated by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of OBBC.
Gareth Stevens, the new Director of the Department for International Trade in the British Embassy, Muscat, attended, and said:
“This was a useful and informative event about the investment opportunities for UK companies in Duqm, and it helped enormously to outline and understand the long term plans SEZAD have for Duqm. The UK is keen to continue working closely on the development of this project and my team and I stand ready and willing to support any UK company who would either like to know more, or who would like to discuss any specific opportunities.”
Jon Wilks, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, played an active role in the discussions, and Lord Astor of Hever DL, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Oman, was also delighted to attend and lend his support.
The investor breakfast was followed by afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HRH Duke of York, Patron of OBBC. HE Dr Ahmed Al Saidi, Minister of Health, represented the Sultanate of Oman at the event and attendees were drawn from OBFA, the corporate membership of the Anglo-Omani Society and the OBBC. HRH Duke of York spoke of the strong bond between the two countries.
The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. DIT is a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as delivering an outward-looking trade diplomacy strategy.