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Qatar denies banning UAE goods after WTO dispute panel formed

May 29, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani [GovernmentZA/Flickr]

Qatar denied on Wednesday it had been restricting imports of goods from the United Arab Emirates, a day after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed to investigate a UAE complaint, Reuters reports.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and transport boycott of Qatar since June 2017 over allegations Doha supports terrorism, a charge Qatar denies.

The UAE has said that Qatar began banning its goods following the boycott, and filed a complaint with WTO earlier this year that was accepted on Tuesday.

Qatar said last year that products from the boycotting states would require new inspections because they could no longer pass through a shared customs regime as a result of the embargo.

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Qatar said on Wednesday, however, that its policies were in line with WTO commitments and did not amount to a ban.

“Emirati exporters may be suffering because they cannot export to Qatar, but responsibility for that lies with the Emirati authorities’ export restrictions, rather than with any measures taken by Qatar,” Qatar’s government communications office said in a statement.

“Indeed, all Qatari actions taken concerning goods originating in the UAE have been, and remain, consistent with Qatar’s WTO obligations,” the statement said.

The WTO case, to be considered by a dispute resolution panel, is separate from one filed by Qatar in July 2017 challenging the legality of the broader boycott by its neighbours. That case is ongoing.