Oman. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Oman include Independence Day (November 18) and New Year (January 1). A free trade agreement with the United States was signed on January 19. In the past, the US has entered into similar agreements with Bahrain, Israel, Jordan and Morocco. However, tea products were excluded. Under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman and the other members Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia also discussed free trade agreements with the EU, Singapore and New Zealand.
Just before the House of Representatives vote in July, Oman’s leader, Sultan Qabus ibn Said, announced in a decree that trade unions should be formed. In addition, forced labor was prohibited. Employers who used forced labor risked fines or imprisonment.
In November, Interior Minister Saud ibn Ibrahim al-Bussaidi announced that parliamentary elections would be held in October 2007. Both men and women would be allowed to take part. In the last election in October 2003, two women were elected from among the 83 members.
In connection with the holiday Id al-fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Sultan Qabus pardoned 125 prisoners sentenced for various crimes, including 95 from Oman.