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Statement of USTR Susan C. Schwab on House Passage of U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement

July 20, 2006

"I applaud the House passage of the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement. Along with last month’s passage by the Senate, Congress has sent the world a powerful message – America is committed to opening markets and contributing to global economic growth and development.

"The free trade agreement with Oman, our fourth with an Arab country, reaffirms our commitment to a growing and evolving Middle East region. It is another major step forward in implementing President Bush’s plan for a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013, building on our existing agreements with Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Bahrain. Our efforts will advance economic growth and democracy in the Middle East – an area of almost 350 million people and a $70 billion trading relationship with the United States.

"We have been pleased to work closely with Members on both sides of the aisle to lay the foundation for our trade agenda, including the Oman FTA. I want to especially thank Majority Leader John Boehner, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Representatives Paul Ryan, Phil English, Daryl Issa, Jim Moran, and Greg Meeks, who have been instrumental in rallying support for this agreement."