GCC labeling standards of imported goods is a key issue facing U.S. exporters. Food labels must include product and brand names, production and expiration dates, country of origin, name and address of the manufacturer, net weight in metric units, and a list of ingredients in descending order of importance. The label must specifically identify all fats and oils (including gelatins) used as ingredients. Labels must be in Arabic only or Arabic/English, although authorities approve some English-only labels for exceptional marketing purposes. Customs officials accept Arabic stickers commonly used by U.S. exporters to Oman.
Oman enforces GCC Shelf Standards GS 150/1993, Part I, which affects 44 food products. Health and safety officials accept the manufacturer-established shelf life for other food products. Many U.S. firms consider Omani shelf-life limits to be more restrictive than is scientifically necessary. The U.S. supplier should work closely with the importer to ensure compliance with local shelf-life requirements.
Omani customs agents sometimes require individual engraving on each U.S.-made good and its packaging with “Made in USA” to accord the products duty-free treatment under the FTA, a practice that is in contravention of the FTA.
Oman requires slaughtering according to Islamic Halal procedures for meat and poultry products. Packaged fresh or frozen meat and poultry must also carry in Arabic, the country of origin; production (slaughtering or freezing) and expiry dates; shelf life of the product; metric net weight; and product identification. Pre-packaged processed meat and poultry must bear production and expiry dates, as well as the net weight of the product.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) issues labeling guidelines for telecommunications equipment. Dealers of such equipment must register with the TRA. The label must contain the approval number and the dealer number. The labeling of imported goods may occur after customs clearance but must occur before the goods enter the Omani market.
A royal decree in 2000 required hallmarking for all precious metals, jewelry, and gemstones, whether imported or locally produced. The precious metal assaying laboratory at the Directorate General for Specifications and Metrology operates the gold hallmarking scheme.
Oman prohibits the export of antiques, ancient manuscripts, and Maria Theresa Thalers (historic Omani currency tender). In addition, customs authorities require export permits for locally mined or quarried products. Export restrictions apply to date seedlings and to lobster, abalone, and shark during the breeding and reproduction seasons when fishing of these sea creatures is prohibited. Oman periodically bans or restricts the export of various species of fresh or frozen fish. The MAFWR cites the need to control price inflation due to strong demand in neighboring countries, as well as to protect certain species’ breeding seasons. The MAFWR limits the export of other fish species to 50 percent of the quantity available due to a decrease in the volume of catch and to help maintain stocks and affordable pricing for the local market.