"I applaud the strong, bipartisan Senate passage of 60 to 34 of the U.S.-Oman
Free Trade Agreement. The United States will gain much from this new economic
partnership – the
Agreement will create jobs and economic growth here at home and promote
democracy, prosperity, and hope in the Middle East.
"On the first day this agreement goes into effect, 100 percent of consumer
and industrial products will be duty free. This new trade opening will expand
opportunities for exports of machinery, automobiles, optic and medical
instruments and electrical machinery, and agricultural products such as
vegetable oils, and sugars, sweeteners, and beverage bases. In addition, Oman
will provide substantial market access across its entire services regime,
provide a secure, predictable legal framework for U.S. investors operating in
Oman, provide for effective enforcement of labor and environmental laws, and
protect intellectual property.
"The free trade agreement with Oman is another major step forward in
implementing the President’s initiative to create a Middle East Free Trade Area
(MEFTA) by 2013, building on our existing agreements with Israel, Jordan,
Morocco, and Bahrain. We are also negotiating an FTA with the United Arab
Emirates and have signed eight Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA)
with Middle East nations. Our efforts will advance economic growth and democracy
in the Middle East –
an area of almost 350 million people and a $70 billion trading relationship with
the United States.
"We have been pleased to work closely with Members on both sides of the aisle
to lay the foundation for our trade agenda, including the Oman FTA. I want to
especially thank Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley and Finance Committee Ranking
Chairman Max Baucus for their leadership. We now look forward to swift passage
in the House."