The World Trade Organisation, WTO, today agreed to look into the complaint filed by the United Arab Emirates against the ban imposed by Qatar on Emirati products. The WTO has decided to constitute an arbitration committee to investigate the UAE’s complaint.
The UAE has stressed that the Qatari ban on Emirati products is a flagrant violation of WTO rules and at odd with its obligations towards the global trade body. The country said it was looking forward to working with the WTO arbitrators and contesting Qatar’s unilateral decision to ban UAE products.
The ban came in the wake of severing diplomatic relations with Qatar by the Arab Quartet due to the former’s support for terrorist and extremist outfits. Qatar partially withdrew the measures against UAE products just before the last session of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, DSB, on 27th April this year, but the UAE contends that the previous decision of Qatar as well as some current measures went against its obligations to WTO.
The UAE believes that the Qatari measures violated the WTO’s basic principles of market access and its rules against discrimination. 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.
The UAE believes that the Qatari measures violated Article 23 of the WTO’s rules for dispute settlement procedures, which proscribes unilateral retaliatory measures such as the ones that Qatar has taken.
Qatar is indulging in gross duplicity in its efforts to use international bodies for its own ulterior motives. It should instead stop its dangerous policies with respect to its neighbours and desist from supporting and funding extremism and terrorism, thereby honouring its commitments in accordance with the Riyadh Agreement that it had signed.