Al Balushi: stepping up the momentum

Al Balushi: stepping up the momentum

Ithraa focuses on non-tariff export barriers

November 2017

Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) hinder the free movement of goods, services, capital and people and are impacting the ability of Omani companies to trade internationally, according to Ithraa.

In a response to the situation, Ithraa has teamed up with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the UN-WTO’s International Trade Centre (ITC) to carry out a study on non-tariff barriers facing Oman’s exporting community.

NTBs result from a wide range of situations, such as lack of implementation and inconsistent enforcement of rules and unclear definitions. They can also include challenging technical rules, fees and inspection charges, health and safety regulations, labelling schemes and environmental standards. A fractured banking sector can also make it difficult for exporters to open accounts in foreign countries, Ithraa said.

For Omani businesses, NTBs make supply chains more expensive and mean that the benefits of economies of scale cannot be fully attained owing to residual divergences. Indeed, Omani SMEs wishing to expand internationally can be particularly hard hit by NTBs. Consumers are affected by NTBs too, as they can face a reduced choice of products and services, higher costs and inferior quality.

Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa’s director general of export development and investment promotion, said: “A recent and important trend in global trade has been the proliferation of regional trade agreements and the Middle East is no exception. Regional integration efforts the world over have all sought to liberalise trade between countries so as to increase bilateral trade flows, diversify exports by overcoming the limits of small markets and deepen specialisation through achieving economies of scale. Harnessing regional integration more effectively, for both goods and services, would help all countries lower their cost base thereby enhancing global competitiveness. It’s a win-win situation.”


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