Oman flag Oman: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Oman

Foreign Trade in Figures

Oman's economy is very open and trade represented more than 107% of the country’s GDP in 2019 (World Bank, 2022). The Sultanate mainly exports hydrocarbons and petrochemicals, and in the past few years has been trying to diversify its economy, with a growing share of industrial products in total exports. Oman´s economy is highly dependent on exports of oil (62 percent of total exports) and liquefied natural gas (8 percent). Other exports include chemicals, plastics and rubber products. The country’s demand for consumer goods and equipment has been growing in the past few years. The main imports are led by petroleum oils, vehicles, electronics and iron.

China is by far the largest receiver of Omani exports, accounting for more than 30% of the total, followed by South Korea (11%), the United Arab Emirates (10.7%) and Japan (10.5%). Others include: India, United States and Thailand. The Sultanate’s main suppliers are United Arab Emirates (36.3%), China, Japan, India, Qatar and the United States (Comtrade 2021).

According to WTO data, in 2020, Oman exported goods for a total value of 31.6 billion USD, down by over 7 billion USD, while imports of goods amounted to 20.6 billion USD, against 23.5 billion USD a year earlier. The country is a net importer of services and its trade balance is structurally positive but it is highly sensitive to hydrocarbon prices fluctuations. The country possesses many assets which facilitate the development of trade, such as its high-quality port facilities. However, slow procedures and rigid labour laws remain significant obstacles to trade. Customs duties are relatively low, and there are not many trade barriers in the country. Most goods produced in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are duty-free if accompanied by a certificate of origin. However, imported alcoholic beverages, tobacco and pork products are subject to the highest custom fees (100%). The government hopes to ratify free trade agreements with the European Union, China and Japan, similar to the one that was signed with the United States in September 2006.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 22,70026,43525,77023,50720,960
Exports of Goods (million USD) 25,30232,90441,76138,72431,685
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a10,81111,72912,0935,539
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a4,0104,5915,0011,830

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20152016201720182019
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 91.378.886.490.590.0
Trade Balance (million USD) 9,1196,2588,76418,08518,229
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 2,299-1622,00310,94711,137
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.5-10.215.9-3.4-6.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.51.0-1.34.61.6
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.039.541.838.437.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 47.339.344.652.152.3

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -16.117.95.84.33.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -11.211.03.94.03.9

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Oman is a member of the Arab League. The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) Agreement, a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.

Member of the WTO (since Novembre 2000)

Member of the Gulf Council Cooperation

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2018
United Arab Emirates 6.9%
Qatar 4.3%
Saudi Arabia 4.0%
India 2.6%
China 1.9%
See More Countries 80.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2018
United Arab Emirates 45.9%
China 5.9%
India 4.4%
Qatar 3.5%
Saudi Arabia 3.2%
See More Countries 37.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

41.8 bn USD of products exported in 2018
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 48.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 10.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 10.4%
Cyclic hydrocarbonsCyclic hydrocarbons 1.8%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 1.7%
See More Products 27.1%
25.8 bn USD of products imported in 2018
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 5.0%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.8%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.7%
Semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steelSemi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel 2.2%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron...Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 2.1%
See More Products 83.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: April 2022