The United States and Oman have entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) aimed at strengthening the economic ties between the two sides and opening channels of communication for discussing a more comprehensive free trade agreement in the future.
"The United States supports the significant changes and reforms that Oman has already undertaken and its continued efforts to promote economic diversification and trade liberalization," said U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick during the Wednesday's signing ceremony in Washington.
According to a USTR press release, "the TIFA establishes a United States-Oman Council on Trade and Investment in which high-level officials from each country will meet to advance trade and investment issues."
"TIFAs have proven useful in supporting the economic reform efforts and negotiation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other countries in the region, such as Bahrain and Morocco," the press release said.
With the signing of the U.S.-Oman TIFA, the United States now has trade agreements with all of the Gulf countries. In addition, the United States has free trade agreements with Jordan and Morocco and TIFAs with Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. According to Zoellick, these agreements "are concrete signs that we are on the path to achieve the President's initiative of a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013."
Omani Minister of Commerce and Industry Maqbool Bin Ali Sultan signed the TIFA on behalf of Oman. (menareport.com)
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