Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1514
Title: NEW OMANI AMBASSADOR IS ALL BUSINESS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT15142005-10-11 03:40:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 001514 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
FOR NEA/ARPI; ALSO PASS USTR FOR J. BUNTIN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: BEXP ECON PREL PINR MU
SUBJECT: NEW OMANI AMBASSADOR IS ALL BUSINESS 
 
REF: A. MUSCAT 1501 
     ¶B. MUSCAT 642 
 
¶1. (U) Summary:  In a meeting with U.S. and Omani business 
executives, Oman's new ambassador-designate to the U.S. 
Hunaina al-Mughairy expressed optimism over the bilateral 
economic relationship and elicited the assistance of the 
business community in identifying project opportunities -- 
and obstacles -- to conducting business in Oman.  End 
Summary. 
 
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UPBEAT ABOUT THE FTA 
-------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) On October 5, Ambassador-designate to the United 
States Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmed al-Mughairy met with 
members of the Muscat American Business Council (MABC) to 
discuss the bilateral economic relationship.  Mughairy, most 
recently the New York representative of Oman's Center for 
Investment Promotion and Export Development (OCIPED) as well 
as the commercial attach to Oman's Mission to the UN (ref 
B), stated that the recently concluded US-Oman Free Trade 
Agreement (FTA) represented an excellent opportunity for Oman 
to expand, in breadth and quantity, its exports to the U.S. 
(Note: Mughairy revealed that Commerce and Industry Minister 
Maqbool bin Ali Sultan intends to travel to the United States 
when it is time to sign the agreement.  End note.)  Mughairy 
stressed the importance of promoting the FTA by hosting 
seminars and other events to explain its benefits to local 
companies. 
 
¶3. (U) Mughairy viewed the completion of the FTA as part of 
Oman's effort to position itself for long-term economic 
growth.  She identified the development of the Sohar region's 
industrial base and the promotion of its ports in Salalah and 
Sohar as examples of Oman's commitment to diversify its 
economy and create jobs for Oman's youth (ref A).  In 
particular, Mughairy cited Dow Chemical's partnership with 
the government in forming the Oman Petrochemical Industries 
Company and Bechtel's signing of an agreement to build an 
aluminum smelter as signs of a robust economic relationship. 
 
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LOOKING FOR ASSISTANCE 
---------------------- 
 
¶4. (U) Given this backdrop, Mughairy asked for MABC member 
assistance in identifying both project opportunities and 
potential obstacles to business growth.  Several attendees 
suggested that the government could make it easier to do 
business in Oman; provide training for U.S. executives 
interested in working with Omani counterparts; and facilitate 
U.S.-Omani business partnerships. 
 
¶5. (U) Mughairy responded that the government currently is 
working with the private sector to streamline business 
development regulations, and is working on ways to improve 
Oman's infrastructure.  She also mentioned that OCIPED 
produces informational brochures for U.S. companies 
interested in Oman, and she pledged to make these more known 
and readily available.  Finally, Mughairy cited the 
importance of creating awareness of Oman as essential to 
developing U.S.-Omani partnerships.  She cited a lack of 
familiarity with Oman, for example, as one factor in a U.S. 
company's last-minute decision in 2002 to withdraw from 
developing the Salalah Free Trade Zone. 
 
¶6. (U) Mughairy concluded the meeting by noting the challenge 
she faces in promoting little-known Oman in the United 
States.  In this regard, she called on MABC members to remain 
in touch regarding the identification of potential projects 
and obstacles, and to aid her in talking up the Sultanate as 
a safe and profitable place to invest and do business. 
 
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A Good Start 
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¶7. (SBU) Mughairy's willingness to accept the MABC's 
invitation, as well as earlier spending over an hour in 
consultations with Embassy section chiefs, reinforces our 
impression that Mughairy stands to be an active and engaged 
ambassador.  She has a deep familiarity with the U.S., and 
her background in trade and commerce makes her ideally suited 
to facilitate eventual ratification of the FTA. 
BALTIMORE