Talking Points on Oman Free Trade Agreement

Talking Points on Oman Free Trade Agreement

 

- 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, Oman 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.


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