International Development Minister Alan Duncan delivered the opening speech at the Omani Trade and Investment Forum, which took place at London’s Mansion House.
Mr Duncan used the speech to highlight the strong relations between the UK and Oman - a country he described as a “loyal and generous ally.” He also emphasised the strong trade links between the two countries stating:
“Last year…we were the largest overseas investor in Oman. The UK exported £349 million in goods there in 2009 and £137 million in services - while Omani exports to the UK reached £113 million… In the pipeline, are investments of $7 billion in power generation and water desalination projects, including the expansion of power transmission and distribution networks.”
Closing the events Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt, called for Oman to see the UK as its commercial partner of choice. He also spoke on the UK’s commitment to the Gulf region, with the Omani Trade and Investment Forum one part of a wider stream of activities:
“This is an important week and one which will help us elevate relations with the Gulf - with the GCC Expo, European Future Energy Forum and the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum all having taken place in London over the past few days… The Gulf is not only a major trade and investment partner in its own right - but also an increasingly important global trade, transport and services hub thanks to its strategic geographical location.”
“UK trade with Oman continues to rise - up by 46% over the first quarter of this year; and by 61% since 2006. UK strengths in engineering and technology related to enhanced oil recovery are key drivers.”