The U.S. and Oman have enjoyed a strong and stable relationship that dates back more than 200 years and continue to collaborate closely on regional security and stability, as well as economic prosperity and trade. In 2009, the two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement which removed most customs duties, allowed citizens to set up businesses without a local sponsor, and gave businesses and investors the right to 100% ownership of companies in Oman.

This landmark agreement has been hugely beneficial to both countries, with the US now Oman’s biggest non-oil export destination, registering $2.73 billion in 2022. The US was also the second-largest foreign direct investor in Oman in the third quarter of 2022 with a total of $6.5 billion coming into the Middle Eastern country.

Due to the strength of the relationship between the two countries, the Oman American Business Council (OABC) was founded in 2003 to foster the development of commercial activity between the U.S. and Oman. Supporting the business community in the Sultanate, OABC delivers programs and events that are focused on professional development, thought leadership and high-level networking.

Hosting 30 events annually, OABC is Oman’s most active business networking group, with each conference, seminar and networking event providing members access and opportunities to meet other decision-makers across a variety of sectors in Oman.

Tasked with overseeing the execution of OABC’s mission is CEO Rebecca Olson. Having previously served as the Executive Director or five years, she is now looking to implement new initiatives to improve trade, develop bilateral relations and establish a stronger presence promoting Oman trade and investment in the U.S.


One of the ways that Olson is achieving this mandate is through networking events that bring together important members of the Oman business community and connect them with US counterparts.

Earlier this year the OABC welcomed U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Leslie Ordeman to one such event which was hosted in partner- ship with Better Medical Solutions, an American company in Oman which has utilized the Free Trade Deal to import high-quality medical devices from the US.

Speaking at the event, Ordeman said: “The U.S.-Oman economic partnership has never been stronger, with trade last year soaring to a record high of $4.2 billion in 2022, a 30% increase from the prior year. “I’m proud the Embassy can support OABC’s efforts to build the relationships between U.S. and Omani companies that serve as the bedrock of that partnership.”

The importance of education

With many U.S. citizens bringing their families to the Sultanate, the need to create an American educational system in Oman was first recognized by Ambassador Frances Cook who in 1997 was gifted land by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said in order to build a school. The following year The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) opened its doors, and it continues to deliver a high-quality curriculum to more than 500 students.

“The vision of Ambassador Frances Cook — the first female ambassador to serve in any Gulf Cooperation Council country — was not only to set up a school for Americans but for anyone desiring an American-based education,” reveals Kevin Schafer, Director, TAISM.

“There is a caveat that Omani children wishing to attend must obtain special permission from the Ministry of Education, which has historically been around 10-15% of our student population. The school is incorporated as a private institution in Oman that leases the land from the American Embassy. Four of the seven people on the school board are appointees of the US ambassador, and the director of the school must be an American. It has a unique U.S. connection and will always be American in character.”

Focuses on providing quality education to students and supporting their intellectual and personal growth while following the American curriculum, TAISM currently has 85 students whose family members work at the US Embassy in Oman. The school has also witnessed an increase in the number of students whose parents work for U.S. companies in the Middle Eastern nation and even some who have retired in the Sultanate.

“Some students whose parents have independent businesses and moved here are enrolled, while some retirees have children who attend our school. They are in Oman through the integrated tourist complex that allows investment in local properties and grants residence permits,” adds Schafer.

“We also have parents whose children attend school here, but one parent works outside the country. It is a different world now. When American companies come to Oman, they often have employees from various countries working for them who are foreigners. These employees are often mobile and often want to keep their children in the American education system. We strive to ensure that our students are not held back in their education due to relocation. Oman offers a beautiful place to live and raise a family, with a good education system.”

The Oman American Business Center (OABC) and Stories announce a new strategic partnership aimed at supporting OABC member companies to grow their business and expand beyond borders under the “Spotlight on U.S. – Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA)” awareness campaign.

OABC is the official affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce in Oman, with a mission to foster commercial development between the U.S. and Oman and is also the largest and most active business networking group in the Sultanate. Stories is an online portal that supports business owners and founders to grow their businesses.

The OABC’s unwavering commitment to empowering businesses is further cemented through the “Spotlight on U.S. – Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA)” awareness program and their efforts in providing businesses with critical insights into leveraging the FTA’s benefits, including tariff elimination and non-tariff trade facilitation.

With this strategic collaboration, Stories will be instrumental in amplifying OABC’s awareness efforts by harnessing the power of social media. With a dynamic tech-enabled portal, Stories’ expertise will be channeled towards promoting OABC’s FTA awareness program, and empowering businesses to seize global opportunities with confidence.

Stories will also provide OABC members with exclusive workshops and coaching calls tailored towards helping businesses unlock growth opportunities and drive success for executives, founders and business owners. 

“We look forward to working with Stories, an organization that shares our vision for fostering economic growth and building strong connections,” said Rebecca Olson, Chief Executive Officer at OABC. “The FTA has been benefiting Omani companies, American companies and even other foreign investors in Oman for over a decade, but there is so much more potential to see trade increase between our two nations. Highlighting the stories of small to large companies taking advantage of the FTA successfully is an excellent way to encourage more engagement and growth.”.

“We are thrilled to embark on this powerful partnership with OABC, where our shared vision of empowering businesses to flourish in the global marketplace aligns perfectly,” said Lubna Forzley, Founder and CEO at Stories. “By combining the expertise of Stories and the esteemed network of OABC we will unlock new horizons and opportunities for growth, ensuring that businesses can confidently stride towards success and leave a lasting impact on the global stage.”

Interested parties can follow these success stories on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook @oabcoman. For further information about the OABC and Stories, please visit https://oabc.org/ and https://why-stories.com/. 



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OABC members recently gathered at the W Muscat for a delicious lunch and an important conversation presented by Sadad International, a new entity from the Bahwan Group.

Tom Cyriac, the Vice President of Sadad, shared critical tips to ensure corporate debts are paid on time, when and how to provide credit, and what causes overdue bills to accumulate. Mr. Cyriac has more than 30 years of experience giving credit and recovering debt and most recently has taken on the role of launching Sadad, a full-service debt collection company based in Oman. He shared his personal experience and best practices he has seen in Oman and the region. The presentation was followed by a lengthy Q&A session, while briefly covering how Sadad International can support businesses in recovering their debt.

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If you missed the presentation, you can access it here or let us know if you’d like to be in contact with Tom and the Sadad team.

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Plenty of business cards were exchanged and many new contacts were made as over 80 OABC members and guests joined our Speed Networking evening at the Crowne Plaza OCEC. The event was designed to accelerate the process of making business contacts in a fun environment and was inspired by many conversations with our members, understanding more about how the OABC can support their business. With many new businesses constantly joining the OABC, speed networking is a great equalizer: everyone has the same amount of time to talk and you are paired with people who you may never have met or people who tend to be shy or more quiet at traditional networking events.

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Participants spent more than one hour briefly meeting one on one and exchanging business cards. This was followed by a reception allowing them further those connections they made during the speed networking session.

Based on the wonderful feedback we’ve received; you can expect more events like these in the future.


OABC members from the energy sector joined a special roundtable session to discuss clean energy opportunities in Oman with U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Diane Farrell and Mr. Khalid Hamad Al Busaidi, OCCI-Energy Committee. Senior leaders from Oxy, Emerson Automation Solutions, Plug Power and Mitsubishi Power Aero were present. Our moderator Dr. Mohab Ali Al-Hinai led an insightful discussion covering topics such as carbon capture, renewables and green hydrogen. Members shared best practices they felt could be implemented in Oman that would support Vision 2040, as well as the benefits the FTA and Export-Import Bank of the United States could bring. During the discussion, Deputy Under Secretary Farrell expressed her keen interest in understanding how the U.S. Government can better support U.S. companies in Oman and how the U.S. can support Oman in achieving their clean energy goals. After the round table, businesses leaders had the opportunity to have one on one discussions with


In partnership with the U.S. Embassy Muscat, the OABC recently kicked off their 5-part FTA webinar series. These interactive sessions will cover critical facets of the Oman- U.S. Free Trade Agreement and are ideal for any U.S. or Omani organization considering trading between the 2 countries or those just looking to expand their understanding of the FTA. The webinars are one part of the OABC’s multi-faceted project “Spotlight on The U.S. – Oman Free Trade Agreement: Contributing to Bilateral Economic Growth” This program aims to enhance the business relationships between the U.S. and Oman by helping increase awareness and understanding of the Free Trade Agreement. Specifically, this multi-faceted project will create the tools and resources that will assist in growing Omani exports to the U.S., increase U.S. sourcing, support FDI and ultimately create more jobs for Americans and Omanis. The webinars are free to participate and open to all, but you must register in advance. You can learn more about our webinars and the entire FTA program here.

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Spotlight On the U.S. – Oman Free Trade Agreement: Contributing to Bilateral Economic Growth

1. Can you briefly describe the role of the OABC in promoting bilateral trade, business and investment between the U.S. and Oman?
For the past 20 years, the OABC has played a vital role in promoting bilateral trade between the 2 nations. We support Omani and American businesses by facilitating critical connections within the private and public sectors, providing advocacy, hosting educational workshops and networking events as well as supporting international delegations and trade missions.

2. The U.S. and Oman have a Free Trade Agreement since 2009. What are the key benefits of this FTA for Omani companies looking to export/import to/from the U.S. market?
There are only 20 countries in the world that have an FTA in place with the United States, this gives Oman a huge competitive advantage. By removing or reducing tariffs and other trade barriers, the FTA represents an opportunity for Omani businesses to expand the market for Omani goods and services in the United States. It also makes sourcing from the U.S. more cost effective.

3. In your view, how has the FTA impacted economic and trade relationship between the two countries? And how do you see the U.S. – Oman business relations evolving in the future, and what opportunities and challenges do you anticipate?
Since implementing the FTA, Oman’s exports to the U.S. have more than doubled. In 2022, trading between the 2 countries was valued at over $4 billion dollars (a record year), and the United States is the leading buyer of Oman’s non-oil exports. In the past several months significant activities to boost the bilateral relationship have been taking place. A first-ever strategic dialogue between the countries’ top senior government officials took place in Oman, an MOU between Oman and EXIM Bank was signed and more meetings to increase trade between the two nations continue to take place both in the U.S. and here in Oman. It’s important for Omani businesses to remember the FTA is an agreement signed by governments, but it’s up to the businesses to use it. That is why the Oman American Business Center plays such a significant role, particularly with our new FTA training program.

4. What opportunities does the U.S. – Oman FTA present for small and medium-sized businesses in Oman?
It’s very simple, it makes accessing the world’s largest economy easier. Plus, SMEs will benefit from an immediate cost advantage whether they are looking to export their products to the U.S. or source U.S. goods.

5. OABC is launching an awareness program focusing on the U.S.-Oman FTA. What motivated or prompted OABC to launch the FTA Awareness program? Can you elaborate on key features and components of this program?
While trade U.S. and Oman trade has reached a record high, there is still so much opportunity for Omani businesses. We work very closely with the U.S. Embassy in Oman, and together we realized there was a need to build greater awareness and understanding of the FTA and how it can bolster international trade, attract investment and create jobs for both Omanis and Americans. This program will offer a survey for companies to assess their export readiness, a series of five interactive webinars, a 2-day executive training and export readiness audit for those companies who are ready to export, new educational materials and a black-tie gala recognizing those American and Omani companies who demonstrate best practices when it comes to the FTA.

6. Can you briefly talk about the objectives of the FTA Awareness program, and how these align with the broader mission of the OABC?
The aim of the project is to help promote the special economic partnership between Oman and the United States, as reflected in the FTA with the goal of increasing awareness of the FTA amongst Omani and American importers/exporters and to ultimately increase trade and jobs in both markets. This aligns with the work that the Oman American Business Center does every day with our members and the Oman business community. This program, being funded by the U.S. Embassy Muscat, allows us further our efforts and reach more people both in Oman and United States.

7. In your view, what are some of the most common misconceptions or misunderstandings about the U.S. – Oman FTA, and how does the FTA Awareness program address these?
Many believe the FTA only benefits Americans, but this isn’t the case. For the past 2 years the trade deficit has been greatly in Oman’s favor. We hope with this program will improve public perception but also greatly increase both awareness and how to best use the FTA.

8. What advice would you give to Omani companies that are looking to start exports to the U.S. market under the FTA?
Get involved with the Oman American Business Center. Our upcoming FTA program offers everyone the chance to learn more about the FTA. Whether trading with the U.S. is a top company objective or something you’re considering in the next several years, we will provide you with the tools and resources to make it happen. Furthermore, all of our members benefit from being part of Oman’s largest and most active business networking organization in the country.

For more information on becoming a member of the Oman American Business Center or taking part in the FTA program, please email info@oabc.org or call +968 9418 9500

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This week the Oman American Business Center welcomed more than 160 members to their annual iftar hosted at the Crowne Plaza Muscat.  OABC members were joined by 10 talented artists from Adatee Hyatee, a group of Omani artists who each live with a physical disability. Also present was U.S. Embassy Muscat’s Chargé d’Affaires, Junaid Munir and many U.S. Diplomats.

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The evening started with special remarks by OABC’s Vice President Fouad Eid and the U.S. Embassy Muscat’s Chargé d’Affaires, Junaid Munir. Wafa Al Harthi of Adatee Hyatee was the evening’s keynote speaker. Wafa, an award-winning artist and illustrator, shared with members her incredible story of perseverance and dedication.

The highlight of the evening was a silent art auction by artists of Adatee Hyatee. 36 beautiful pieces of art were on display for members to enjoy and bid on while networking on the terrace of the Crowne Plaza. All proceeds from the art sales went directly to the artist.

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As the official affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce in Oman (AmCham Oman), the OABC promotes understanding, partnerships & other matters of mutual economic interest between business communities in Oman and the United States. Formed in 2003, the OABC’s mission is to foster the development of commercial activity between Oman and the United States.  With 30 events annually and over 180 member companies, OABC is Oman’s most active business council and networking group. The Oman American Business Center (OABC) is best known for hosting high-level professional networking events and informational sessions for professionals across the Sultanate.



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On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the Oman American Business Center hosted one of their most popular networking events, Taco Tuesday, hosted at the residence of U.S. Embassy Muscat’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Junaid “Jay” Munir.

This was the DCM’s final Taco Tuesday as he will be moving on to his next post. Jay has been an incredible supporter and friend of the OABC during his time in Muscat and many people were there to show their gratitude. More than 100 OABC members and U.S. Embassy representatives spent the evening networking and enjoying delicious tacos.  The Oman American Business Center also welcomed many new faces there as many new companies have joined since the start of the year.

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The evening was supported by OUA and Ahmed Zuhair from Bomba Burrito. A few lucky OABC members won fantastic raffle prizes provided by Muscat Pharmacy, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara and MLS Oman.

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As the official affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Oman, AmCham promotes understanding, partnerships & other matters of mutual economic interest between business communities in Oman and the United States. For 20 years, AmCham Oman’s mission has been to foster the development of commercial activity between Oman and the United States. With more than 25 events annually and over 160 member companies, AmCham Oman is Oman’s most active business center and networking group.