Workshop Evaluates Oman-US Free Trade Agreement

Posted on November 26, 2012 · Posted in Members News

Wed, 24 October 2012; Oman Observer
By A Staff Reporter –

MUSCAT — Aaron Brickman, founder and Deputy Director of Select USA, visited Muscat for a series of investment promotion events last week. Select USA is the United States’ first and only investment promotion authority at the national level, and provides tailored assistance to foreign investors interested in investing and setting up operations in America, as well as taking shares in US companies and projects.

During the two-day visit, Aaron met with selected fund managers and company representatives at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) for a technical discussion on investing and doing business in America. Attendees urged the US and Omani governments to consider visa waivers or reciprocal long-term visa durations, as well as a tax treaty to avoid potential double taxation.

Aaron also presented to assembled US and Omani businesspeople about investment opportunities in the US, incentives offered by state and regional economic development organisations, and answered questions on the EB5 immigrant-investor visa. Aaron’s presentation was the highlight of a broader workshop on doing business under the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The event, co-sponsored by the US Embassy and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was held at the Intercontinental hotel and aimed at increasing awareness of the FTA and how to take advantage of it. The FTA workshop was opened by Jihad al Taie, founder of Jihad al Taie law office. Welcoming remarks were offered by Ayman al Hasani, Vice-Chairman of OCCI, and W Johann Schmonsees, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy. Emily Shaffer, Economic & Commercial Officer at the US Embassy then provided an overview of the FTA as well as the Embassy’s role and commercial services.

Omani government representatives from the Public Authority for Investment Promotion, the Ministry of Commerce, the Directorate of Customs and the Secretariat for Taxation also provided new American companies with detailed advice on doing business in Oman. Finally, members of the Muscat American Business Council (MABC) presented on their experiences doing business in Oman and ways MABC serves US companies. Participants were given take-away reference materials on the FTA, Select USA, and MABC.

After the FTA workshop, Aaron Brickman met with Bank Muscat private banking clients at the Chedi hotel for a luncheon promoting investment opportunities in America. bank muscat’s Private Banking head Prabal Gupta, also a board member of MABC, presented on specific attractive commercial real estate opportunities in various states.

Aaron ended his visit by meeting with MABC President Ali K Daud to suggest ways the organisation could help promote increased trade and investment between the US and Oman. He encouraged the idea of a promotional road show in the United States, targeting serious potential opportunities in best prospect sectors such as energy.