Washington DC – The Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, members of the U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Coalition Steering Committee, today testified in support of the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement. Appearing before the U.S. government ‘ s inter-agency Trade Policy Staff Committee, representatives of both organizations strongly endorsed this potential agreement as a key step in promoting economic reforms and creating economic opportunities in the region.
“The US-Oman FTA will allow PhRMA member companies to expand and continue providing life-saving medicines in the region, while protecting the intellectual property that makes the research and development of these drugs possible,” said Susan Kling Finston, Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property and Middle East/North African Affairs at PhRMA, a Steering Committee member of the US-Middle East Free Trade Coalition. ” The establishment of the highest intellectual property standards will promote an attractive environment for foreign investment and create long-term economic growth,” added Finston.
“This agreement presents a significant opportunity to eliminate trade barriers in the Omani market, thereby increasing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in that market,” said Megan Carpentier, Manager of Global Public Policy for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, a Steering Committee member of the US-Middle East Free Trade Coalition. “Increasing economic ties with Oman will also create opportunities for increased trade throughout the Middle-East and promote key economic reforms in the region,” added Carpentier.
*U.S. goods exports to Oman in 2003 were $323 million, including machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and electrical machinery. U.S. exports of agricultural products to Oman were $13 million, including sugars, sweeteners and beverage bases, and vegetable oils.
The Free Trade Agreement with Oman will help advance market-oriented economic reforms and will help to demonstrate to other Middle Eastern nations the important benefits of trade liberalization.
In November 2004, the United States Trade Representative announced the beginning of negotiations with Oman, as part of the Middle East Free Trade Area Initiative. The United States has recently signed an FTA with Bahrain, which is now awaiting Congressional approval. Additional Middle East Free Trade Area agreements are in place between the United States and Israel, Jordan and Morocco.
The U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Coalition, managed jointly by the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), is made up of over 70 U.S. companies and associations supporting trade expansion and economic development in the Middle East. The Coalition ‘ s US-Oman FTA Task Force, is working for a high quality Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Oman.
The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based world economy. Founded in 1914 by a group of American companies that supported an open world trading system, the NFTC now serves several hundred member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), a U.S. business association founded in 1959 at White House initiative, is dedicated to promoting dialogue and action between the business and government communities for the purpose of expanding international commerce.