The Oman Free Trade Agreement is a relatively small, yet vitally important trade pact. Oman is a strategic U.S. ally in the Middle East. Located at the Hormuz Strait and the entrance to the Persian Gulf, it sits directly across from Iran. More than 20 percent of the world's oil supply passes through this strait. Oman has retained friendly ties with the U.S. since our first trade mission back in 1833. It was the first Arab country to send an Ambassador to the United States and also the first Arab country to appoint a female ambassador to the U.S. In 1981, Oman signed a 10-year military access agreement with the United States, which it has renewed twice. Oman has and continues to provide important support to U.S. forces in the region including logistical and operational support for the Persian Gulf War and the present war in Iraq.
Sixty percent of Oman’s population is less than 18. Implementation of this agreement will help Omani leaders in their effort to create the jobs and educational opportunities for this younger generation, and will raise their standard of living to help them sustain a prosperous future. The Oman Free Trade Agreement will have a minimum economic effect on the U.S. according to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) since trade levels are low, representing about four-one hundredths of one percent of total U.S. trade. Since the U.S. trades U.S. goods in exchange for Oman’s oil, the agreement will create more American jobs, particularly in the transport equipment and machinery manufacturing sectors.