Foraying into Iran

OPEX Tehran to be held from September 25 to 30 is expected to benefit Omani exporters hugely. Around 150 Omani exporters are expected to participate in the event. A Harikumar reports

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Close on the heels of the success of Omani Products Exhibition (OPEX) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from April 11 to14, Oman is planning to hold an OPEX in Tehran. The exhibition will be held from September 25 to 30, said HE Sheikh Fahmy Said Al Hinai, vice-chairman of OPEX and honorary consular of Ethiopia to Oman.

Recently, organisers of OPEX held a meeting of Omani entrepreneurs interested in participating in OPEX, Tehran in Muscat. The OPEX committee interacted with Omani entrepreneurs at the meet and explained to them the steps being taken for ensuring the success of OPEX Tehran and cleared their doubts. Committee members have already been to Tehran and started making arrangements for the event. The venue for the OPEX has been booked with the help of Trade Promotion Organisation, Iran (TPO) which is a part of Iran’s Ministry of Commerce. The venue, a spacious hall of area over 5000 sq. m is part of a well-known multi storied complex.

“We expect to get around 150 companies from Oman. We are about to sign agreement with an Iranian company who will take care of the various responsibilities of exhibition like doing marketing, arranging B2B meets etc. They also have a data base containing details of thousands of companies in different parts of Iran,” said Sheikh Fahmy Al Hinai.

Benefits of participating

“This data base will be accessible to Omani companies who can make use of it to establish contacts with Iranian companies and enter into business deals,” said Sheikh Salem Al Bortamany, vice chairman of OPEX. Altogether there will be five days of exhibition. However, the inaugural day will be focusing on country to country interactions. Remaining four days will focus on exhibitions, he added.

Opportunities

Iran is a self-sufficient country in many aspects and the UN embargo has helped them to achieve self-sufficiency. However that doesn’t mean foreign companies don’t have any opportunities. Iran’s huge population of 79 million means a huge market with insatiable demand. Iran’s consumers have a very high purchasing power which means opportunities for Omani companies.

An advantage for Oman is on the logistics front. Iran being a neighbouring country it takes less than half day to reach there. Bank Muscat, Oman’s biggest bank has tie up with several institutions there.

Challenges ahead

One of the challenges identified by OPEX participants is language. Iranians mostly speak Farsi and few Omanis are fluent in that language. As a solution, organisers promised to provide the services of translators to participants.

Though sanctions imposed by UN against Iran have been removed in principle, some of the sanctions are still in place and would be lifted in the coming months only. Iran has a well-developed industrial base. It produces almost everything needed by the public and so Omani exporters will have to compete against local producers. Another important challenge is the high customs duty of 30 per cent on goods imported to Iran.

OPEX organisers said they would provide comprehensive help to Omani companies to link with Iranian companies. This includes finding and arranging meeting with Iranian companies. The embassy of Oman in Iran will also help entrepreneurs to sort out problems if any.

“The profiles of Omani companies who register with OPEX will be sent to our partner in Iran who will spot Iranian companies who wants do business with Omani companies. Omani companies going for OPEX Tehran will get the opportunity to meet companies who are in the same field,” said Sheikh Fahmy.

OPEX held at Addis Ababa was a grand success and Oman has been promised land free of cost in Ethiopia. “Other countries that got land in Ethiopia free of cost are only China and Turkey. Ethiopian government will allot land in industrial estate there to Omani companies to start manufacturing,” he added.

At the OPEX Ethiopia many Omani companies got business enquiries. Mazoon Printing, Publishing and Advertising, an Omani company has already fixed a business deal. Sheikh Fahmy reminded Omani exporters that perseverance is the key to success to enter export markets and sustain the business. 


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