MUSCAT, 27 February – Oman and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding worth OMR192 million ($500 million) to explore options for utilising the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)’s financing and to promote trade and investment.
Oman, whose bilateral trade with the US topped $4.22 billion in 2022, the highest ever and up 30% from 2021, will see US collaboration in strategic sectors of its economy, ranging from renewable energy to manufacturing, it was decided at the start of the inaugural session of the Strategic Dialogue between the Sultanate of Oman and the United States of America.
The US is Oman’s largest market for non-oil exports, providing the long-term partnership to create jobs and mutual prosperity in both countries, an Oman News Agency (ONA) report said.
Three working groups
Both sides discussed and outlined areas of cooperation within three working groups: trade and investment; clean energy; and education, culture, and science. Both countries underscored the importance of boosting trade and investments in strategic fields.
In a joint statement, the two sides pointed out that the first Strategic Dialogue coincides with the 190-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which established commercial relations between the two countries. It was the first trade agreement the US signed with an Arab country.
In trade and investment, participants from both countries discussed activating a working mechanism to maximise the benefits of the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the issue of tariffs, promoting trade and investment in strategic areas such as mining, logistics, energy, fisheries, agribusiness, and telecommunications, and exploring possibilities for collaboration in the digital economy.
The two countries explored opportunities to collaborate on clean energy solutions such as carbon removal, clean hydrogen, industrial decarbonisation, as well as clean energy policy, including Oman’s net-zero 2050 roadmap, methane emissions reduction and other short-lived climate pollutants, and Oman’s plans for COP28. They also discussed enhancing cooperation on catalysing finance for clean energy as well as in research programmes and knowledge sharing for the decarbonisation of energy.
Both sides welcomed cooperation on education, culture, and science, and discussed a mechanism for resuming the Fulbright programme for Omani students and scholars and developing programmes in key areas discussed by both countries.
The two sides highlighted their close cooperation on issues that are central to the bilateral relationship, such as investment in innovation, higher education, and scientific research programmes, including initiative programmes in various fields.
Oman and the US further expressed their mutual intent to collaborate on teachers’ professional development. They also decided to cooperate in the fields of literature and culture.
Oman and the US are committed to maintaining the exchange of high-level bilateral visits, including the goal of scheduling the next round of the Strategic Dialogue in 2024.
The inaugural Strategic Dialogue comes after the announcement made in Washington, DC by Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in November 2022 to launch the first Strategic Dialogue between the two countries – with the aim of building upon the strong partnership between Oman and the US. — Zawya