After six months of negotiations, the U.S. and the Middle East nation of Oman have agreed on a bilateral free-trade pact, the White House trade office announced on Oct. 3. Oman is the fifth Middle Eastern country to have negotiated a free-trade agreement with the United States. The others are Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain. A sixth free-trade agreement -- with the United Arab Emirates -- is still being negotiated.
Last year the U.S. exported $330 million worth of goods to Oman, including autos, electrical machinery, other machinery, and optic and medical instruments. Bilateral trade of goods between the U.S. and Oman in 2004 totaled $748 million.
Before the U.S. signs the agreement, it must give Congress at least 90 days' notice of its intent to sign.