Economic measures against Qatar do not violate WTO pacts

WTO permits suspension of privileges

ABU DHABI2 August 2017: Juma Mohamed Al Kait, Assistant Under-Secretary for Foreign Trade Affairs in the Ministry of Economy, has stated that member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were within their rights to impose economic measures, if they felt their national security was being threatened.

In a statement issued in response to Qatar presenting an official complaint to the WTO against the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Al Kait noted that in its agreements related to trading in goods and services, and trade related to intellectual property, the WTO permitted the suspension of privileges of a member country in specific cases, and those cases had been proven against Qatar.

He pointed out that the sanctions imposed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did not contradict the agreements of the WTO, and were in line with article 21 and article 14 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), known as ‘Security Exceptions’.

He clarified that these articles did not prevent any member from resorting to economic sanctions to protect their basic security interests, or from executing the commitments of the United Nations Charter to maintain international peace and security.

By Rajive Singh

Dubai Gazette