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.


Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

Updated 14 October 2019

Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

TOKYO: Under-pressure start-up WeWork is considering two huge bailout plans including a cash injection that could see Japanese investment titan SoftBank take control of the firm, according to reports.
The office-sharing giant had been on course for a massive initial public offering until last month when questions began to be asked over its governance and profit outlook.
The firm’s valuation plunged from $47 billion in January to less than $20 billion in September and the listing plans have been dropped, while co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as chief executive.
With New York-based parent company We Co. not expected to push for the IPO this year, the cash-strapped firm is looking for a financial lifeline.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg News cited unnamed sources close to the talks as saying SoftBank — the US firm’s biggest shareholder — had drawn up a proposal that gives it full control of WeWork.
The move would dilute the voting power of Neumann, who remains as chairman of the company he started in 2010 and also currently maintains control a majority of voting shares.
They also reported that WeWork is looking at a deal with Wall Street giant JP Morgan to raise $5 billion in debt, with the Times saying directors of We would be meeting as soon as Monday afternoon to discuss that.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange financing,” the Journal reported a company spokesman as saying.
“Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week.”
The New York-based startup that launched in 2010 has touted itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.
However, the company, which lost $1.9 billion last year, has faced skepticism over its ability to make money, especially if the global economy slows significantly.