Baker Mckenzie has issued an extremely useful December 2017 update on the political and economic boycott of Qatar, which began on 5th June when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and moved to close off access to the Gulf country, and which continues to have a significant impact on international trade in the Middle East. The indications are, is says, that the dispute is unlikely to be resolved in the short term and will continue to be even more disruptive. Some of the highlights from the briefing –
- in August 2017, Qatar restored diplomatic ties with Iran by sending an ambassador to Tehran.
- Qatar also asked the WTO to set up a dispute panel to adjudicate on its row with the UAE.
- there are still no publicly released restrictions on investment between Qatar and the boycotting countries.
- Qatar inaugurated a new $ 7.4 billion deep sea port along its Gulf coast in September 2017 as a regional transport hub to help shield its economy against the sanctions. The port has been receiving large quantities of food and building materials for construction projects since the boycott began, and allows Qatar to import goods directly from countries such as China and Oman instead of through a major re-export hub in Dubai.
- Qatar has expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30% in an apparent effort to prepare for greater economic independence in the long term.
- there is now a clear practice by the Qatar authorities to prohibit the import of goods of Saudi, UAE, Bahraini or Egyptian origin, including indirect shipments.
- Qatar opened up its visa regime in September 2017, offering visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries and becoming the first GCC country to create a permanent resident status for expatriate workers who have “given service to Qatar” or possess “skills that can benefit the country.”
- UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt further extended their terrorist watch lists on 22nd November, adding 2 organisations and 11 individuals. The latest additions bring the list to 79 individuals and 23 organisations, including from 9 Arab countries, suspected of sponsoring terrorism and linked to Qatar.
For more detail, including Q&A on the main points, see the full article at –