BY RAVINDRA NATH
MUSCAT - Oman and Belarus pledged to shore up bilateral economic ties on Sunday with the signing of two major agreements - the first aimed at avoiding double taxation and the second to reinforce cooperation between their chambers of commerce and industry.
Both were concluded on the sidelines of an official visit here by Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, who was accompanied by a high-profile delegation including several ministers, senior officials and leading businessmen. The President left Oman later on Sunday at the end of his two-day visit during which he conferred with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
National Economy Minister Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, who signed the accord to avoid double taxation and evasion of income tax, said the deal was part of a joint effort by the two countries to boost economic and trade links. He added it would create a "conducive investment environment" for joint ventures.
Macki said the number of such pacts signed by the Sultanate with foreign countries had now risen to 26, leading to a significant increase in the country's overseas trade and joint investment with them.
Anna Deyko, the Belarusian Minister of Taxes and Duties who inked the agreement for her country, echoing similar views, said it would "contribute in encouraging joint investment and considerably boost economic relations between the two countries."
The joint cooperation agreement between the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and the Belarus Chamber of Trade and Industry (BCTI) seeks to "establish comprehensive economic ties between private sector establishments and businessmen in both countries and exchange data and information, expertise and technology," according to OCCI President Salim bin Said al Ghattami, who signed it with Vladimir N Bobrov, the BCTI chief.