Muscat, Oman - On Sunday, February 7, representatives of the United States and the Sultanate of Oman convened a meeting of the Joint Committee of the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Christopher Wilson, Assistant United States Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, led a U.S. delegation that included the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration. At the Joint Committee meeting, officials discussed a broad range of trade issues, including operation of the FTA and initiatives to increase cooperative efforts on labor rights and environmental protection, as well as trade initiatives by the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Oman is a member.
"The meetings in Oman are an important example of the United States' commitment to ensuring that our trade agreements are an economic success for American workers, farmers, ranchers, businesses and consumers, and that they also promote enhanced protections for labor rights and the environment," said Wilson. "The FTA with Oman, along with the FTAs with Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Bahrain, also demonstrates the U.S.' commitment to deepening our relationship with the Middle East region and to ensuring that the benefits of trade liberalization are spread broadly."
The two sides agreed to continue their work to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment and other economic issues. Both delegations also acknowledged the importance of engaging their respective private sectors, particularly small- to medium-sized enterprises, to take advantage of the FTA.
While in Oman, the U.S. delegation will also meet with officials from the Ministries of Manpower, Environment and Climate, and National Economy, as well as stakeholders from the private sector. These meetings follow a recent visit to Oman by a USTR-led delegation to increase engagement on labor issues.
In 2008, two way goods trade with Oman totaled $2.2 billion. The five largest import categories in 2008 were mineral fuel (crude oil), precious stones (jewelry), plastic, inorganic chemical, and iron and steel products. The top export categories in 2008 were vehicles, machinery, aircraft and electrical machinery.