WASHINGTON: A recent report published by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) said the United States is one of Oman’s largest trading partners, describing the relations between the two countries as distinctive.
In both 2018 and 2019, the United States exported about $2 billion in goods to Oman, and imported about $1.1 billion in goods from it. The largest US export categories to Oman are automobiles, aircraft and related parts, drilling and other oilfield equipment, and other machinery. Of the imports, the largest product categories are fertilizers, industrial supplies, and oil by-products such as plastics.
The US-Oman Free Trade Agreement has led to increased partnerships between Omani and US companies in a broad range of industries, not limited to energy.
The CRS report said “In order to better position its economy over the longer term, Oman has been diversifying its economy; in the first half of 2019, non-oil sectors contributed twice as much to Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP) as did the energy sector. Oman has announced a “Vision 2040” strategy. Its cornerstone is to attract foreign investment to positioning Oman as a trading hub, centred on the $60 billion project to build up Al Duqm port. That project has attracted investment from Iran, Kuwait, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Oman’s plans for the port include a refinery, a container port, a dry dock, and facilities for transportation of petrochemicals, with a rail link to the other GCC states that enables them to access the Indian Ocean directly. China’s investment in Al Duqm, part of its “Belt and Road Initiative” to assemble a trade link between China and Europe, will fund a “SinoOman Industrial City.
Oman has in recent years expanded its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, primarily to Asian countries, the report said, noting that Oman is part of the “Dolphin project,”, the first project for cross-border transmission of liquified natural gas in the GCC.
Oman has generally sought to mediate resolution of regional conflicts and refrained from direct military involvement in them.
Oman has historically had a high degree of religious tolerance compared to some other countries. The State Department religious freedom report notes no known instances of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation or practice, the report said. — ONA