The Sultanate’s on-going efforts to liberalise and diversify the economy offer greater opportunity for enhanced trade, investment and economic ties between Omani and US firms, according to a high-ranking official of the US Chamber of Commerce. Khush Chosky (pictured), Senior Vice President for Middle East and Turkish Affairs, also pledged to work with the Chamber’s new local affiliate, the Oman American Business Center (OABC), to help deepen economic and commercial relations between the two countries.
“Although Oman is a relatively small market, the enactment of the Free Trade Agreement with the US and Oman’s recent economic diversification reforms have sent a clear signal that Oman is ready and open for business,” said Chosky.
“The US Chamber sees Oman as an area of tremendous growth potential for American companies given its strategic location and vast natural resources and we hope the trade and investment relationship continues to develop and grow to new heights.”
Earlier this month, the OABC joined the US Chamber of Commerce to become part of world’s largest business federation representing the interests of over three million businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy. The affiliation effectively adds the Sultanate to 103 countries that currently host American Chambers of Commerce (Amchams), serving to strengthen trade and commerce between these nations and the US market.
In comments e-mailed to the Observer, Chosky said the US Chamber, along with its local affiliate, could play a significant role in contributing to the Sultanate’s economic development.
“As Oman continues to modernise and diversify its economy, this provides great opportunities for American companies to bring their services and expertise to bear. The US Chamber, working with its partners in the private sector and government, can help educate its members about commercial opportunities in Oman and how an enhanced trade and investment relationship between the US and Oman can mutually benefit both countries, promote economic growth and create jobs. This is also a great role for the Oman American Business Center to play,” he stated.
The official noted in particular the important role that the landmark Free Trade Agreement (FTA) inked by Oman with the United States in 2009, continues to play in fuelling trade and commerce between the two countries.
“Since its enactment, the FTA between Oman and the US has brought the bilateral trade and commercial relationship closer together, levels the playing field for American companies in Oman, and helps promotes economic growth in both countries. The FTA not only addresses barriers to entry for US companies by eliminating key tariffs, it also provides a framework for important economic reforms in Oman that can help attract further foreign investment.”
The US Chamber of Commerce, said Chosky, has the potential to serve as a “high-level platform” for both the US and Oman private sectors and governments to work together and strengthen the bilateral economic relationship. By bringing these important stakeholders to the table to tackle regulatory and policy issues that pose barriers for companies, the Chamber can help improve the business climate and promote enhanced investment and commercial activity in both countries, he stressed.
“To deepen the US Chamber’s engagement in Oman, we are building a strong relationship with our country AmCham affiliate, the Oman American Business Center (OABC). The US Chamber looks forward to closely working with OABC to educate American companies about the benefits of doing business in Oman and engage both governments to address policy and regulatory challenges to promote a better environment for doing business. We also look forward to working more closely with the Omani Ambassador in the United States to grow this economic relationship,” said Chosky.
Lauding the Sultanate’s ambitious drive to liberalise its economy and promote greater private sector participation, the official said the move will help attract more US firms to expand their presence beyond the mainstay hydrocarbon and defence sectors in Oman.
“While the oil and gas, defence, and tourism sectors will continue to be robust, Oman can look to grow other sectors like healthcare, information technology, and finance. Doing so would not only help Oman in its drive to diversify its economy, but also allow American companies to grow their footprint in this burgeoning market,” he added.