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 or call +968 9418 9500

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