WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will travel to the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the Sultanate of Oman October 13-15 to discuss
efforts to promote economic growth and opportunity by expanding bilateral,
regional and global trade. Zoellick will then travel to Israel for meetings and
discussions related to U.S.- Israeli bilateral trade issues.
"I look forward to meeting the senior political and economic leadership of
the U.A.E. and Oman, along with senior officials and representatives of the
private sector when I visit Oman and the U.A.E." said Zoellick. "In recent
years, the Gulf region has become associated with economic reforms and trade
liberalization, with the launching of the current World Trade Organization (WTO)
negotiations in Doha, Qatar, and our recent completion of an FTA with Bahrain.
I’m interested in learning more about the economic reforms and development plans
in Oman and the U.A.E.
"U.S. FTAs are high quality, cutting-edge agreements that can play an
important role in stimulating economic growth and development over time," said
Zoellick. "Both Oman and the U.A.E. have expressed interest in deepening their
economic relationship with the United States, including with FTAs, and I look
forward to discussing the challenges and opportunities involved in negotiating a
comprehensive FTA with the United States."
During his visit to the U.A.E., Zoellick will meet with American business
leaders, participate in a roundtable discussion with U.A.E. opinion leaders and
tour a port facility. In Oman, he will meet Minister of Commerce and Industry
Maqbool Sultan and Minister of National Economy Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki.
Zoellick will also participate in a roundtable with opinion leaders, and will
conduct discussion groups with journalists and students.
The United States recently concluded a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with
Bahrain, and signed Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) with both
the UAE and Oman. The TIFAs provide a forum for the United States to examine
ways to expand bilateral trade and investment and can be used as a forum to
launch negotiations for an FTA.
"Last year, President Bush outlined a country-by-country plan to achieve a
Middle East Free Trade Area. With the hand of U.S. economic partnership, the
United States will embrace and encourage reformers across the region," said
Zoellick. "The 9/11 Commission urged the United States to expand trade with the
Middle East and highlighted the recently concluded FTA with Bahrain, as well as
our recently passed FTA with Morocco as examples of positive steps in this
The President’s Middle East Free Trade Agreement (MEFTA) initiative seeks to
promote free trade throughout the region and between the region and the United
States. The United States recognizes the differing levels of development across
the region and is taking a graduated step-by-step approach to creating a free
trade area with countries interested and willing to open their economies and
liberalize their trade regimes.
U.S. goods exports to the UAE in 2003 were $3.5 billion, including machinery,
aircraft, vechicles, electrical machinery and optic and medical instruments.
U.S. exports of agriculture products to the UAE totaled $259 million in 2003,
including live animals and tree nuts. U.S. goods imports from the UAE in 2003
totaled $1.1 billion, including mineral fuel, woven apparel and knit
U.S. goods exports to Oman in 2003 were $323 million, including machinery,
aircraft, vehicles, and electrical machinery. U.S. exports of agricultural
products to Oman were $13 million, including sugars, sweeteners and beverage
bases, and vegetable oils. U.S. goods imports from Oman in 2003 were $695
million, including mineral fuel, woven apparel, repaired products, precious
stones, and knit apparel. U.S. imports of agricultural products from Oman were
In May 2003, the President announced his initiative to create a Middle East
Free Trade Area by 2013. The initiative is designed to deepen U.S. trade
relationships with all countries of the region, through steps tailored to
individual countries’ level of development. Since that announcement, the United
States has concluded FTA negotiations with Morocco and Bahrain, signed TIFAs
with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen, and now
with Oman. The U.S. already has TIFAs with Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia. The
United States recently held its first TIFA Council meetings with the UAE,
Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. In addition, the U.S. has made progress with the WTO
accessions of Saudi Arabia and Algeria, and in the case of Algeria, extended GSP
The United States is working to open markets globally in the Doha World Trade
Organization (WTO) negotiations; regionally through APEC and the Free Trade Area
(FTAA) of the Americas negotiations; and bilaterally, with FTAs. The Bush
Administration has completed FTAs with eleven countries – Chile, Singapore,
Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua,
Australia, Morocco, and now Bahrain – in the last two years. Negotiations are
under way or about to begin with ten more countries: Panama, Colombia, Peru,
Ecuador, Thailand, and the five nations of the Southern African Customs Union
(SACU). New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute America’s
third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the