Qatar Turning to WTO may result Gulf States Disputes
Qatar drags to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to the WTO for boycott
Qatar filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organisation (WTO ) to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
By formally "requesting consultations" with the three countries, the first step in a trade dispute, Qatar triggered a 60-day deadline for them to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO and potential retaliatory trade sanctions. "We have given sufficient time to hear the legal explanations on how these measures are in compliance with their commitments, to no satisfactory result," the Qatari Government said "We have always called for dialogue, for negotiations, and this is part of our strategy to talk to the members concerned and to gain more information on these measures, the legality of these measures, and to find a solution to resolve the dispute".
The boycotting states cut ties with Qatar - a major global gas supplier and host to the biggest U.S military base in the Middle East - on June 5, accusing it of financing militant groups in Syria, and allying with Iran, their regional foe, allegations Doha denies.The boycotting countries have previously told the WTO that they would cite national security to justify their actions against Qatar, using a controversial and almost unprecedented exemption allowed under the WTO rules. They said they were ready for talks to tackle the dispute, the worst rift between Gulf Arab States in years, if Qatar showed willingness to deal with their demands.
The disputed trade restrictions include bans on trade through Qatar's ports and travel by Qatari citizens, blockages of Qatari digital services and websites, closure of maritime borders and prohibition of flights operated by Qatari Aircraft.
The complaint does not put a value on the trade boycott, and Qatar declined to estimate how much it could seek in sanctions if the litigation ever reached that stage, which can take 2-5 years or longer in the WTO system.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said they would allow Qatari planes to use air corridors in emergencies.