Oman was extremely underdeveloped
until the discovery of oil and natural gas in the early 1970's,
this now accounts for over 40 % of Gross Domestic Products and
80 % of the country’s export earnings. Agriculture, owing
to Oman’s desert land, is limited to the coastal plain and
a few irrigated areas in the interior.
Dates, limes and alfalfa are the major products,
some livestock is also bred. There are mineral deposits of chromite,
copper, marble, gypsum and limestone, manganese ore and coal.
The Government has used some of its oil revenues to develop indigenous
industries such as agriculture, construction and tourism, and
to build up the country’s infrastructure, these projects
are incorporated in the Vision 2020 economic development programme.
In the late 1990's, Oman started to privatise major government
owned parts of the economy and introduce a legislative framework
to encourage foreign investment.
The economy has been growing at around 4 % each year and enjoys
low inflation and unemployment.
Oman is a member of various pan Arab political
and economic organisations.
However, it is not a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), although its pricing policy tends to follow
that of OPEC fairly closely. Oman’s principal trading partners
are Korea (Rep), Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and
the United Kingdom.
Men are advised to wear suits and ties
for business and formal occasions. English is usually spoken in
business circles, but a few words or phrases of Arabic will be
helpful and welcome.
Appointments are essential and punctuality is
progressively becoming more important in business circles. Visiting
cards are widely used.
Office hours are Saturday to Wednesday, 8.00
am to 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm, Thursdays 8.00 am to 1.00
Government office hours are Saturday to Wednesday 7.30
am to 2.30 pm, and sometimes half days on Thursdays. All offices
are closed Friday and office hours are shorter during Ramadan.
The following associations can offer advice:
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Address: PO Box 550, Muscat, Postal Code 113
Telephone: 771 7085
Facsimile: 771 4436 / 4213
Website address: www.mocioman.gov.om
Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Address: PO Box 1400, Postal Code112, Ruwi
Telephone: 707 674 / 84 / 94
Facsimile: 708 497
Website address: www.chamberoman.com