Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

UAE concludes WTO dispute after Qatar backs down on trade ban

Doha’s decision to rescind the ban on UAE products led to the withdrawal of the complaint

World Trade Organisation HQ in Geneva. The WTO is downbeat about global trade. Reuters
World Trade Organisation HQ in Geneva. The WTO is downbeat about global trade. Reuters

The UAE has concluded dispute proceedings against Qatar at the World Trade Organisation after Doha backed down on a ban on Emirati products that had been imposed in breach of the global trade body’s rules.

The complaint arose after Qatar imposed discriminatory measures against goods and distributors from the UAE in May and June 2018.

The WTO’s dispute settlement body announced in May that a special panel would be formed to examine the issue.

A spokesman for the UAE mission in Geneva said that Qatar’s decision to rescind the ban led to the complaint being withdrawn.

“Qatar’s withdrawal fulfilled the UAE’s request in the complaint," he said. "However, the UAE reserves the right to take further action if Qatar renews its WTO violations."

“The UAE would like to thank the World Trade Organisation for its efforts to resolve this matter and for helping to ensure members’ compliance with WTO obligations.”

The issue arose after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and transport boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over that country’s support for extremist groups.

The measures taken by Qatar the following year against pharmaceutical, health and service companies were in breach of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, leading to the UAE appeal to the WTO.

The complaint said Qatar’s obligations and commitments as a member of the WTO were in breach.

The UAE requested the formation of a WTO dispute settlement panel on January 28, 2019.

"The UAE believes that the Qatari measures violated the WTO’s basic principles of market access and its rules against discrimination," the country said at the time.

"The Qatari measures aimed to target the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, which opposed Qatar’s patronage for terrorism and extremism, dissemination of hate speech and interference in the internal affairs of other countries."

That process was moving forward when Qatar backed down.

Updated: August 9, 2019 02:26 AM