Oman eases visa rules for tourists from India, China and Russia

Oman received 3 million international travelers in 2016. (Courtesy Oman Tourism)
Updated 01 October 2017
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Oman eases visa rules for tourists from India, China and Russia

DUBAI: Oman has eased its visa requirements for tourists from India, China and Russia following a similar strategy its Gulf neighbors have implemented to attract travelers from the global market.
“All passengers from India, China and Russia, who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of the following countries (United States of America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Schengen states) are allowed to obtain non-sponsored tourist visa to enter Oman as per the applied terms and conditions of the authorities,” a statement from the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said.
The non-sponsored tourist visa, at 20 Omani rials (SR195) and valid for one month, also allows holders to bring with them their spouses and children during their stay in Oman. They however must obtain return tickets and confirmed hotel reservations before they are issued the visas.
Oman is currently digitizing its visa issuance system on expectations the faster issuance of e-visas for 67 countries would encourage further growth in visitor arrivals.
The Gulf state received 3 million visitors last year, up from 2.47 million a year earlier, helped by a surge in arrivals from India at 297,628. Muscat recently launched its first ever India-specific brand campaign to promote the country as a prime experience-driven destination for those coming from the subcontinent.



Oman’s neighbor UAE has been experiencing a boom in tourism after earlier allowing visitors from Russia and China to obtain visas on arrival. Indian passport holders with EU or UK residency visas to were also given access to visas on arrival to the UAE, as well as those holding American visas or Green Cards.
Qatar meanwhile last month announced visa-free entry for the citizens of 33 countries for a period of 90 days within a 180-day time span, while nationals from 47 other countries can stay in Qatar for up to 30 days.
Both 30-day and 90-day visa holders are eligible for multiple entries to the country.
Bahrain meanwhile earlier adopted new single-entry visa and one-year multiple re-entry e-visa policies, which allows visitors on single-entry visas to stay in the kingdom for up to two weeks.
Holders of one-year re-entry visas meanwhile are allowed to stay for period of up to 90 days.
Manama also expanded the number of countries whose citizens can avail of visa-on-arrival facilities to 67, including some European and Central and South American states.


US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

Updated 23 June 2018
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US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

  • US tells WTO appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days
  • Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatens to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars

GENEVA: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.
The statement by US Ambassador Dennis Shea threatened to erode a key element of trade enforcement at the 23-year-old WTO: binding dispute settlement, which is widely seen as a major bulwark against protectionism.
It came as US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatened to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars, the latest in an unprecedented campaign of threats and tariffs to punish US trading partners.
Shea told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that rulings by the WTO’s Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade, were invalid if they took too long. Rulings would no longer be governed by “reverse consensus,” whereby they are blocked only if all WTO members oppose them.
“The consequence of the Appellate Body choosing to breach (WTO dispute) rules and issue a report after the 90-day deadline would be that this report no longer qualifies as an Appellate Body report for purposes of the exceptional negative consensus adoption procedure,” Shea said, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Reuters.
An official who attended the meeting said other WTO members agreed that the Appellate Body should stick to the rules, but none supported Shea’s view that late rulings could be vetoed, and many expressed concern about his remarks.
Rulings are routinely late because, the WTO says, disputes are abundant and complex. Things have slowed further because Trump is blocking new judicial appointments, increasing the remaining judges’ already bulging workload.
At Friday’s meeting the United States maintained its opposition to the appointment of judges, effectively signalling a veto of one judge hoping for reappointment to the seven-seat bench in September.
Without him, the Appellate Body will only have three judges, the minimum required for every dispute, putting the system at severe risk of breakdown if any of the three judges cannot work on a case for legal or other reasons.
“Left unaddressed, these challenges can cripple, paralyze, or even extinguish the system,” chief judge Ujal Singh Bhatia said.
Sixty-six WTO member states are backing a petition that asks the United States to allow appointments to go ahead. On Friday, US ally Japan endorsed the petition for the first time, meaning that all the major users of the dispute system were united in opposition to Trump.