His Excellency Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Issa Al-Harthy, Under Secretary for Diplomatic Affairs at the Foreign Ministry of Oman, was pleased to welcome Jose W. Fernandez, the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State and his accompanying delegation to Muscat on February 23, 2023 to convene the inaugural session of the Strategic Dialogue between the Sultanate of Oman and the United States of America.
The inaugural Strategic Dialogue comes after the announcement made in Washington, D.C. by Foreign Minister His Excellency Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi 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 the Sultanate of Oman and the United States.
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 United States signed with an Arab country.
Additionally, His Excellency Abdullah bin Salim Al Harthy, the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Oman, and President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Reta Jo Lewis, signed a $500 million (192 million OMR) memorandum of understanding to explore options for utilizing EXIM financing and to promote trade and investment in strategic sectors of Oman’s economy, ranging from renewable energy to manufacturing. Bilateral trade between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman totaled $4.22 billion in 2022, the highest ever and up 30 percent from $3.25 billion in 2021. The United States is Oman’s largest market for non-oil exports, providing the long-term partnership to create jobs and mutual prosperity in both countries.
Both sides discussed and outlined areas of cooperation within three working groups: trade and investment; clean energy; and education, culture, and science. In trade and investment, participants from both countries discussed activating a working mechanism to maximize 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 decarbonization, 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 catalyzing finance for clean energy, as well as in research programs and knowledge sharing for the decarbonization of energy.
Both sides welcomed cooperation on education, culture, and science and discussed a mechanism for resuming the Fulbright program for Omani students and scholars and developing programs 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 programs, including initiative programs in various fields. The parties reviewed the possibility of furthering their cooperation in the fields of science and technology under the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman on Science and Technology Cooperation, signed in 2016, such as through the U.S. Science Envoy and U.S. Embassy Science Fellows programs.
The Sultanate of Oman and the United States of America further expressed their mutual intent to collaborate on teachers’ professional development. They also decided to cooperate in the fields of literature and culture.
The Sultanate of Oman and the United States 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.