Late 2005, Oman finalised an FTA with the United States, as part of the US’ plan to reach an all encompassing Middle East Free Trade Agreement. It was signed in Washington on 19 January 2006. While the text is still going through the ratification processes, major US corporations are lining up to benefit including Halliburton, Bechtel, Microsoft and Dow Chemical.
The FTA was ratified in June 2006. Companies like Dow Chemical hailed the agreement as it would open doors for them to expand their petrochemical operations in the Sultanate.
The deal entered into force in January 2009 after being delayed supposedly because Oman was dragging its feet on changing domestic laws on telecommunications and software.
last update: May 2012
Last July’s one-vote passage of CAFTA and today’s narrow vote on a pact with tiny Oman reflects American rejection of status quo NAFTA-style trade policy.
Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more and more Americans have become convinced that the model our government uses to secure trade deals is fundamentally flawed and has caused our nation and our workers serious economic harm.
The US House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly approved a free trade pact with the Gulf Arab state of Oman, after a debate focused on the safety of US ports and protections for Omani workers.
"It is bad enough that we are asked to support agreements that will ship more jobs overseas, that undermine our environmental standards, and that ask us to stick our head in the sand over serious human rights violations - but it is simply unacceptable to ask this Congress to support legislation that could potentially undermine the security of our nation," said US Congressman Mike Michaud.
Congressional opponents of a free-trade pact with Oman raised concerns on Tuesday about provisions they said could jeopardize US port security, but other lawmakers said they were misstating the facts.
US Democrats opposed to a free trade pact with Oman said on Tuesday that new reforms to the Gulf Arab state’s labor laws fall short of what is needed to win their support for the agreement.
A royal decree granting workers in Oman rights to form unions and barring coercive practices by employers will strengthen Oman’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the US, a top official said.
The US Senate has approved the Oman Free Trade Agreement, leaving one final battle in the House of Representatives before the accord can be implemented.
The U.S. Congress is likely to approve a free trade agreement that includes strong foreign policy components with Oman, one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, despite protests over the Arab country’s record on labour standards, human rights and the environment.
A bill sent by President Bush to Congress on Monday enacting a free trade agreement with the Arab Gulf state of Oman triggered a rebuke from the top Senate Democrat, who said it omitted a provision barring goods made with forced labor.