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    2008年6月WTO对阿曼贸易政策审议-主席总结发言(英)

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    TRADE POLICY REVIEW: OMAN

    25 and 27 June 2008

    Concluding remarks by the Chairperson



     


    This first Trade Policy Review of the Sultanate of Oman has given us a better understanding of its trade and related policies, and of the challenges it faces. Our discussions have greatly benefited from the full and open engagement of the high-level Omani delegation led by H.E. Mr. Maqbool Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, as well as the insightful comments by the discussant, and the thoughtful interventions by many delegations.

    Members commended Oman on its impressive economic performance over the past few years, with high real GDP growth, low inflation, and surpluses in its overall fiscal position and its external current account. This was a result of its liberal trade regime, its macroeconomic reforms and development strategy implemented since the mid-1990s, and high oil and natural gas export earnings as from mid-1999. Members also appreciated Oman's efforts to diversify its economy away from crude oil, and for ensuring intergenerational equity in the exploitation of its non-renewable resources, through the improvement of education and health services, and modernization of its infrastructure. Delegations also praised Oman for the steps taken to improve its investment climate, but urged it to remove the remaining prohibitions on foreign ownership.

    Members welcomed Oman's commitment to the WTO, including the DDA negotiations, and encouraged it to fully meet its notifications under various WTO Agreements. Oman's market for all products is quite open, and the bulk of its trade takes place on an MFN basis. Nonetheless, delegations noted Oman's participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Pan Arab Free-Trade Area (PAFTA), as well as in bilateral trade agreements, most of which are not yet fully implemented. The need to maintain the notification of the GCC under Article XXIV of GATT 1994 was also mentioned.

    Members asked Oman to reduce the gap between its MFN applied average tariff of 5.5% and its average bound tariff of 13.8%. Some delegations also raised concerns about Oman's requirement for consular formalities on imports, and the use of minimum import prices on tobacco and tobacco products. Members also noted the absence of competition legislation. They encouraged Oman to amend its government procurement regime to remove the price preferences for domestic and GCC products, and accede to the Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement. Members urged Oman to further reduce State ownership throughout the economy by pursuing its privatization programme. They sought information on the development plans regarding oil and natural gas, and manufacturing. Some Members requested clarification on the import restrictions maintained by Oman, notably on SPS and TBT grounds. Other issues of interest to Members included incentive schemes (e.g. for exports); protection of intellectual property rights; agriculture and fisheries (state support); and services, including GATS commitments, financial services, telecoms, transport, and tourism.