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S'pore firms urged to tap Oman's vast special economic zone
Publication Date : 10-09-2013
Singapore companies have been encouraged to look at business openings in a large economic zone in the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian peninsula.
About US$4.5 billion worth of projects, including logistics and tourism, are up for grabs in the nation's Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ), those attending a business forum on Monday were told.
Other industries covered by the projects include fisheries, and oil and petrochemicals.
Speakers at the forum, held at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay and organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Duqm SEZ, briefed about 100 SBF members on SEZ opportunities.
The area comprises a sea port, industrial area, new town, fishing harbour, tourist zone, logistics centre and an education and training zone.
Duqm is in the Al Wusta region of central Oman, 550km south of the capital Muscat.
The 1,777 sq km Duqm SEZ - more than twice the size of Singapore - will be one of the largest free zone projects in the Middle East and North Africa region.
SBF vice-chairman and group president Tang Kin Fei said a road and rail network is already being planned in the SEZ and will eventually connect Duqm with Oman's neighbouring countries.
"It is my wish that more Singapore companies can... (take) advantage of the excellent environment to make Duqm and Oman your hub for doing business in the Middle East region," said Tang, who is also the chief executive of Sembcorp Industries.
The Duqm SEZ already has a number of other links with Singapore. SEZ Authority chief executive Lee Chee Khian is a Singaporean who previously worked with the JTC Corporation.
In May, Sembcorp Industries announced a joint venture with Oman's Takamul Investment Company to develop utilities facilities in the SEZ.
"The sultanate offers a range of exemptions and incentives to attract foreign capital and investment," said Yahya Said Abdullah Al-Jabri, chairman of the Duqm SEZ Authority.
The business forum was organised following the GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA), signed in 2008 between Singapore and the six countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC).
The GSFTA, which came into effect on September 1, will eliminate tariffs for 97.7 per cent of Singapore's exports to the GCC with immediate effect.
"The Duqm SEZ is poised to also benefit tremendously from the GSFTA, as it provides Singapore and GCC companies wider access to the services sector in Oman," said Tang.