*UAE firms unable to sell products in Qatar because of their own government’s coercive and unlawful measures
*Qatar still supplying the UAE gas worth more than $750mn each year that meets more than 30% of its energy needs
*Unlike the UAE, Qatar remains open for business with all WTO members and continues to adhere to all its international obligations
Qatar on Friday said it is surprised that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has abruptly terminated consultations in the DS576 dispute at the WTO and has rushed to seek the establishment of a panel.
DS576 pertains to a UAE request for WTO dispute consultations with Qatar regarding certain measures restricting the import, distribution and sale of goods in Qatar from the UAE .The request was circulated to WTO members on 31 January.
Responding to the complaint Qatar has maintained that it was the UAE that has imposed a blockade against Qatar and banned the movement of goods between the two countries. Qatar said it is perplexed that the UAE continues to maintain those measures, and yet complains of alleged lack of market access to Qatar.
“The UAE's complaint in DS576 is surreal because Qatar does not limit access for UAE goods to Qatar's market. To the extent that UAE's goods are unable to access Qatari markets, this is solely because of the UAE's own measures that prohibit movement of goods between the UAE and Qatar,” an official statement from Qatar’s Geneva Mission said.
To recall, the UAE has imposed a scheme of coercive and unlawful measures against Qatar, which is the subject to another ongoing dispute, DS526.
“To the extent the UAE wishes to facilitate the access of its goods to the Qatari market, its recourse lies in removing its own unlawful measures, not in complaining about non-existent Qatari measures. If UAE exporters are frustrated at not being able to access Qatar's market, they should look closer to home to find the cause.”
Qatar said the UAE has previously indicated that its own restrictive measures on exports to Qatar are necessary for national security purposes. “With its request today, Qatar understands that the UAE no longer considers restrictions on export of goods to Qatar necessary for protecting its security interests.
“That being the case, the UAE's own export restrictions have no legal justification. Therefore we call on the UAE to immediately withdraw those measures.
“Qatar also wishes to comment on the stark contrast between Qatar's conduct in the DS576 dispute and that of the UAE when Qatar requested consultations concerning the UAE measures on goods, services and IP rights in DS526. The UAE refused in that case to engage in consultations with Qatar.
“By contrast, in DS576, and consistent with our DSU obligations, Qatar participated in consultations in good faith when requested by the UAE to do so.
“We are disappointed that the UAE continues to abuse the system by picking and choosing when to engage in consultations.”
Turning more specifically to DS576, there is no factual basis for the complaint. Unlike the UAE, Qatar remains open for business with all WTO members and continues to adhere to all its international obligations.
“If Qatar intended to implement trade restrictions against the UAE, we would not be continuing to export more than $750mn worth of Qatari gas each year to the UAE. Qatar continues to provide the UAE with more than 30% of its energy needs, despite the UAE's coercive measures against Oatar.”
The Mission said the UAE is trying to portray the issue as a retreat of Qatar from the ban on UAE goods and the details on the contrary are shown in the file.
The UAE is imposing a blockade on Qatar, but due to the losses of its traders, it wants to export its goods to Qatar.
UAE companies resorted to counterfeiting (such as changing the source pad and re-exporting through ports other than their ports) in order to avoid the ban imposed by their government on them .