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ILAB News Release: [04/25/2012]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Jason Kuruvilla
Phone Number: (202) 693-4679 or x6587
Release Number: 12-0785-NAT

US Department of Labor and Oman Ministry of Manpower meet on United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement

MUSCAT, Oman — The U.S. Department of Labor and the Oman Ministry of Manpower convened the first meeting of the Subcommittee on Labor Affairs on April 24 in Muscat. Representatives at the meeting reaffirmed their commitments under the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement to recognize and protect the rights stated in the International Labor Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

The U.S. delegation, led by Amit Pandya, chief of staff of the Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, included representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Muscat. Abdulla Murad Al-Mullahi, the Oman Ministry of Manpower's director of international organizations and external relations, hosted the meeting. The Subcommittee on Labor Affairs, created under the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement, is responsible for overseeing implementation of the agreement's labor chapter.

The subcommittee agreed to further pursue cooperative activities to improve the enforcement of labor laws and to hold more regular meetings to review progress on implementation of the labor chapter commitments.

"We are gratified to have concluded our first meeting of the Subcommittee on Labor Affairs. We look forward to continuing this relationship with the government of Oman in order to address our shared goals for improving workers' rights and livelihoods," said Pandya.

The subcommittee also held a public session with worker and employer representatives to discuss implementation of the labor chapter.

"Public sessions are critical to strengthening communication among FTA parties and social partners, and ensuring transparency in the administration of the labor chapter," said Pandya. "The session included a productive exchange of perspectives that will help further implementation of the chapter's commitments."

Additionally, the U.S. delegation held a series of separate meetings with civil society stakeholders that included the private sector and labor unions. Discussions covered labor chapter implementation and a broad range of labor issues, including initiatives to improve respect for labor rights.