Talking Points on Oman Free Trade
- Oman has not signed on to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which
regulates international trade in wildlife. However, according to CITES reports,
is home to 24 species of animals that are threatened with extinction and 189
additional species whose trade must be closely controlled for their survival.
- The Oman agreement continues provisions
from previous trade agreements which allow corporations to sue governments if
they believe an environmental, labor, or animal welfare protection has
inhibited them from making their full profits.
This process virtually overrides national sovereignty, the efficacy of
democratically created laws and punishes governments if they are trying to
protect people or natural resources from being exploited.
-The natural gas reserves in Oman
are being used to create aluminum, fertilizer and methanol as well as refine
crude oil. The industrial pollution
created as a result is negatively impacting the health and populations of sea
turtles and endangered fish. Limits on
development are specifically prohibited in the Oman
agreement, and the expansion of tourism and fisheries on Oman beaches are destroying nesting
and feeding locations for various species of sea turtles. With the agreement passed, these industry
practices can only be expected to increase.
- Nonhuman animals aren’t the
only ones who will suffer under this agreement.
Public Citizen has stated that “The Sultanate of Oman is an oppressive
monarchy that has been listed by the U.S. State Department for human
trafficking, for severe restrictions on freedom of the press, for harassing
human rights activists, for forbidding independent labor unions.” Imports of duty-free textiles from Oman will increase and threaten manufacturing
jobs in the United States. Many of the manufacturers in Oman use
sweatshop labor. It is expected that
there will also be an increase in human trafficking of indentured workers from Bangladesh and China to supply the labor.