Qatar climbdown in WTO case involving ‘illegal’ ban on UAE goods


The UAE initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar in January. (Reuters)
Updated 27 April 2019

Qatar climbdown in WTO case involving ‘illegal’ ban on UAE goods


  • UAE government said in January that it had initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar
  • Qatar has now decided to partially withdraw its measures

LONDON: Qatar has backed down on measures relating to its “illegal” ban on UAE goods and services, the subject of a dispute lodged with the World Trade Organization, the Emirates’ state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE government said in January that it had initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar, following a ban on goods imposed by Doha.
Qatar has now decided to partially withdraw its measures, in what WAM said was “a significant concession aimed at averting the consequences of the UAE’s case” lodged with the WTO.
The step was announced during a session of the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO on Friday, WAM reported on Saturday. Qatar has also partially revoked measures that banned buying and selling commodities exported by the UAE.
“The Qatari climbdown recognizes that Doha’s policies had violated its international obligations. However, the partial concession doesn’t … 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,” WAM reported.
Abdullah Hamdan Al-Naqbi, director of the international law department at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Qatar’s confession of its previous violations marks “a clear concession.”
“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 said.
Qatar’s approach had “placed it on the defensive,” with little recognition of the consequences of its actions, Al-Naqbi added.
The UAE is one of several Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that have imposed a boycott on Qatar due to its alleged support of terror groups. Doha denies the charges.


Time is running out for Brexit trade deal, UK minister says

Updated 14 min 21 sec ago

Time is running out for Brexit trade deal, UK minister says

  • Both sides are demanding concessions from the other on fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes
  • George Eustice: We really are now running out of time

LONDON: Britain and the European Union are running out of time to clinch a Brexit trade deal but if good progress is made this week then the talks could be extended, Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Monday.
With just over four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally exits the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, both sides are demanding concessions from the other on fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.
“We really are now running out of time, this is the crucial week, we need to get a breakthrough,” Eustice told Sky.
“I really do think we are now in to the final week or 10 days, of course if great progress were made this week and you’re nearly there it’s always possible to extend those negotiations,” he said.
Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31 but has been in a transition period since then under which rules on trade, travel and business remain unchanged. From the start of 2021 it will be treated by Brussels as a third country.
Talks between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and British chief negotiator David Frost continued through Sunday. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was a very significant week for Brexit.
“David Frost had made clear that we’re continuing the negotiations because we still think there is a prospect that we can get an agreement and while there is we should persevere with those,” Eustice said.