Qatar withdraws measures established against UAE at WTO

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Qatar has decided to withdraw its measures against the UAE in a significant concession aimed at averting the consequences of the UAE’s case in WTO against an illegal Qatari ban on UAE goods and services.

During a session of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the WTO, to examine the UAE’s request to set up an arbitration committee to assess Qatari efforts to ban UAE consumer goods and services, Qatar announced that it had withdrawn the measures they established against the UAE. It also said that it has partially revoked measures that banned buying and selling commodities exported by the UAE.

The Qatari climb-down recognizes that Doha’s policies had violated its international obligations. However, the partial concession doesn’t not resolve some of the fundamental issues of the dispute, and the UAE continues to explore its legal options to ensure that Qatar abides by its WTO obligations.

Abdullah Hamdan al-Naqbi, Director of the international law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stated that Qatar’s confession of its previous violations one day before the UAE request was heard ‘‘ is a clear concession.’’

He added: ‘‘We continue to seek Qatar’s full withdrawal of these measures so as to ensure Doha’s commitment to its WTO obligations and ensure our exports of goods has free access to Qatar markets’’ he underscored.

Al-Naqbi said: ‘‘We see today that Qatar approach, which placed it on the defensive, did not count and think of the damage that will come back from this trend.’’

Late in January, the government of the United Arab Emirates announced that it has initiated World Trade Organization, WTO, dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar following its ban of the sale of UAE products in Qatari markets.

The move came following the Qatari Ministry of Economy’s ban on the sale of consumer goods manufactured in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, as well as the decision of the country’s Ministry of Public Health to stop pharmacies from selling medicines and other products coming from the four countries.

Qatar has also removed the names of UAE companies from the list of approved vendors for infrastructure projects and has maintained an undeclared ban on products coming from the UAE.

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