Times of Oman | 03 January 2009
New era in Oman-US trade relations
MUSCAT — The beginning of the New Year brings with it the start of a new era in Oman-US trade relations.
The New Year day marked the entry into force of the Oman-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after a comprehensive process of negotiation, review and actions by both sides, following the signing of the Agreement in September of 2006, said US Ambassador to the Sultanate Gary A. Grappo.
"The FTA is another sign that the US regards Oman as a strategic partner and as a place of genuine economic opportunity. The US reaches these agreements with only a few select trading partners. In every other case to date in Bahrain, in Jordan, and elsewhere in which the US has reached such an agreement, the benefits have been large and far-reaching. As it becomes effective, I firmly believe that the FTA will similarly benefit both of our nations," he said.
The FTA will immediately increase bilateral access for industrial, consumer and agricultural goods and provide new opportunities in the services sector. For Omani businesses, this means that they will have full access to the $14 trillion US market, the world’s largest. Almost 100 per cent of consumer and industrial products will flow without tariffs. The agreement provides a secure, predictable legal framework for US and Omani investors operating in Oman and the US, respectively, including the effective protection of intellectual property rights, he said.
"It reflects our shared commitment to preserving the environment while its labour provisions place the Sultanate at the forefront in the Middle East in protecting workers’ rights. Overall, the FTA will improve the ease of doing business and provide a fair and level playing field for local and international investors".
"As our two countries enter our 176th year of formal diplomatic relations, first marked by the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833, I am proud that this latest accomplishment will further solidify our historic ties of friendship and trade. In today’s challenging global environment, the Oman-US Free Trade Agreement will provide new opportunities and expanded horizons for economic development to Omani and to American businesses alike," Grappo said.