The United States Senate gave final congressional approval on September 19, 2006 to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Oman, sending the bill to President George W. Bush to sign into law.

The completion of a comprehensive FTA had been announced on March 10, 2005. This agreement governs trade relations between Oman and the United States in industrial and agricultural goods, intellectual property, services, customs, employment, the environment and telecommunications. The agreement is also designed to eliminate tariffs, barriers, and preferences between the two countries.

Oman is the fourth Arab country in the Middle East to complete a free trade agreement with the United States following recent pacts with Jordan, Morocco, and Bahrain.

On the intellectual property level, the FTA includes clauses related to the protection of intellectual property; some of which are listed hereunder for clarity:

– Each government will be required to establish transparent procedures for the registration of trademarks, including geographical indications, and to develop an on-line system for the registration and maintenance of trademarks, as well as a searchable database.

– Each government commits to protect copyrighted works, including phonograms, for extended terms, consistent with international standards.

– Patent terms can be adjusted to compensate for unreasonable delays in granting the original patent.

– Each government is required to impose deterrent penalties against piracy and counterfeiting.

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