Oman FTA Gains Congressional Approval

As the U.S. and several other countries -- along with Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization -- this week work to salvage the Doha Round trade liberalization talks, two major business organizations are applauding U.S. approval last week of a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the Middle Eastern nation of Oman.

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly backed the FTA on a 221 to 205 vote on July 20. The Senate had previously passed the agreement 60 to 34.

Once the pact is implemented, "all American-made consumer and industrial products will enter Oman duty-free, gaining even greater market share for U.S. manufacturers, who exported nearly $600 million worth of goods to Oman in 2005," noted John Engler, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers.

"Not only does [the agreement] create incentives to deepen trade and investment with a dynamic region, it advances U.S. national security goals in the Middle East," said Daniel W. Christman, senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

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