Friday, March 11, 2016

Curtis wins major U.S. trade case for Omani manufacturer and Sultanate of Oman

In a final determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce on March 7, allegations made by U.S. producers of PET resin that OCTAL was the recipient of unfair subsidies were dismissed.

The determination represented a comprehensive victory for Curtis’ client, OCTAL, a leading global manufacturer of PET resin products, which had been threatened with the prospect of countervailing duties being applied to its exports of PET resin to the United States. It is significant for the Sultanate of Oman, which successfully defended key aspects of its economic development policy.

The determination follows months of intense work by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, OCTAL Petrochemical SAOC FZC, and Curtis. During a year-long investigation, Sultanate authorities and OCTAL responded to numerous requests for information from the U.S. Department of Commerce and held on-site verifications with Department officials.

Under scrutiny was the creation and administration of free trade zones in the Sultanate.  OCTAL’s manufacturing operations are located in such a free trade zone in Salalah.  The zones are a key component of the Sultanate’s economic development policy, designed to attract investment and diversify the economy by leveraging the benefits of the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement.

After poring over thousands of pages of factual information provided by Sultanate authorities and OCTAL, and after consideration of legal argument, the U.S. Department of Commerce was forced to conclude that OCTAL was not the recipient of countervailable subsidies as a result of any zone policies.

The legal team representing the Government of Oman and OCTAL in the U.S. proceeding included Washington based partners Matthew P. McCullough and Dan Porter and Muscat based partner Simon Ward and associates Zuhaira Al Sulaimani and Ayoub Al Rawahi.