MUSCAT: The United States and Oman are celebrating 12 years of trade under the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a bilateral accord that lowers trade barriers between the two countries. Since taking effect in 2009, the FTA has benefitted both countries by boosting trade and investment and creating jobs. Despite its success, the FTA remains an untapped resource for companies in both Oman and the United States. The Oman American Business Center (OABC), in partnership with the U.S. Embassy to Oman and the Omani Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (Tejarah), launched a video campaign this week to raise awareness of the FTA and encourage more firms to take advantage of it.
Titled “Success Stories of the U.S.-Oman FTA,” the video seeks to raise awareness of the FTA by introducing viewers to companies that operate in Oman and have successfully exported products for sale to the United States duty free, imported products from the United States duty free, or otherwise benefited from the FTA. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy, and in partnership with the Tejarah, the video features remarks from Omani Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion H.E. Qais Al Yousef, United States Ambassador to Oman H.E. Leslie Tsou, and OABC Chairman Emeritus and President Ali Daud.
“The FTA has greatly benefited Omani companies, as well as U.S. and international firms,” Daud said. “But it is important to remember that the Free Trade Agreement has also increased the overall amount of [Foreign Direct Investment, or] FDI into Oman and created opportunities and jobs for Omanis over the past 12 years.”
“The United States is the world’s largest economy, and Oman is one of just 20 nations — and two in the GCC — that enjoys free trade in this unique way. We are very excited to shine a spotlight on just a few of the many success stories of the U.S.-Oman FTA and look forward to inspiring similar stories in the years to come,” Daud said.
Ambassador Tsou encouraged more Omani and American companies to take advantage of the FTA, whose many benefits include duty-free treatment of goods and a no-minimum investment requirement for new businesses. “The FTA is a pillar of the strong economic partnership between our two countries and provides opportunities to expand prosperity for companies large and small in both Oman and the United States,” she said. “The Embassy is working closely with the Omani government, the OABC, and other business organizations to strengthen the FTA to benefit both our economies.”
As part of Tejarah’s goals to attract investors and spotlight opportunities for companies in Oman, the video will be shown at the Oman Pavilion at EXPO 2020, attracting the attention of millions from around the globe.
Commenting on the FTA anniversary, HE Qais Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Investment Promotion said: “On this the 12th anniversary of the Oman–U.S. free trade agreement, we celebrate not just this landmark agreement but also the longstanding relationship between our two countries – one that began back in 1840 when Sultan Sayyid Sa’id bin Sultan sent his special envoy, Ambassador Ahmad bin Na’aman Al Kaabi, to New York to cement trade ties between Oman and the United States.”
The Minister added: “The friendship between us is not the only reason American businesses choose to invest in Oman – also playing an important role is the strength of the sultanate’s competitive offer, its pro-business government, strategic location, seamless access to regional markets, world-class infrastructure, skilled talent and the strength and ambition of Oman Vision 2040, the sultanate’s blueprint for social and economic development.”
VIPs, OABC members, and representatives from Oman’s public and private sectors will be the first to preview the video at an inaugural event in early December. Once released, the video series will be available at www.oabc.org/fta.
About the OABC
The Oman American Business Center (OABC) was founded in 2003 with a mission to foster the development of commercial activity between Oman and the United States, promote U.S. business, and support the Oman business community through programs and events.
As the official affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Oman (AmCham Oman), OABC promotes understanding, partnerships and other matters of mutual economic interest between business communities in Oman and the United States. The focal endeavor of the OABC is to provide a forum for the exchange of insights, information, ideas, and direction with respect to increasing trade, commerce, and investment between the two countries.
Every year, the OABC has around 30 events focused on knowledge sharing, business opportunities and challenges, legislative changes and networking within the Oman business community.