Oman wants to boost bilateral trade and economic relations with Pakistan as both countries enjoy strong political and defence relations, but their trade relations are not reflective of the true potential of both countries. This was stated by H.E. Al-Sheikh Mohammed Al-Marhoon, ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, while interacting with the business community during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). The ambassador said that Pakistani high quality products have great prospects to penetrate Oman’s market and added that chambers of commerce of both countries should play a role to ensure bilateral trade of quality products between them. He said that many Pakistani products are getting labelled in third countries for export at higher prices and urged that Pakistan should ensure direct export of its products by focusing on their branding that would achieve better results for its economy. He said that peace in Afghanistan would create many new opportunities of trade promotion between Central Asian region and Arab countries through Gwadar and Salalah ports, which would also strengthen trade cooperation between Pakistan and Oman. He also invited Pakistani investors to explore JVs and investments in Salalah Free Zone which offered great incentives including 30-year tax holiday, zero VAT, customs duties exemptions, 100pc foreign ownership, only 20pc Oman’s requirement, one stop shop services and no minimum capital requirement. He assured that his Embassy would cooperate in enhancing Pakistan’s exports to Oman. ICCI Senior Vice President Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh highlighted trade, tourism, oil and gas exploration, ports, agriculture, construction and healthcare, education as potential areas of mutual cooperation between the two countries. He said that both countries should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations and focus on developing strong business linkages between their private sectors to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation. The ambassador supported this proposal and said that exchange of trade missions was very important to improve trade relations between our two countries. ICCI Vice President Muhammad Faheem Khan said that Pakistan can export many products to Oman including textiles, marble, construction material, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, leather products, sports goods, food items and emphasised that Oman should consider importing these products from Pakistan. Mian Akram Farid, chairman of Founder Group, said that Gwadar and Salalah Ports have great potential to create efficient communication channels between the two countries as both ports possessed excellent infrastructure and other facilities. It would also promote cooperation in blue economies between the two countries, he added. He said that Pakistan is preferring Islamic countries to explore business prospects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and invited Oman’s investor to explore JVs and investment in this mega development project.