consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Qatar. Entangling trade alliances? What has the WTO to do with regional one-upmanship? Between sovereign nations has sovereignty been compromise or bargained away, or perhaps tamped somewhat down in reach? [UPDATED - Emerates responds.]

A sign of what might have been, had TPP not been stomped upon so heavily that it lost its life? Al Jazeera online, here, opening paragraphs:

Qatar has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (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've given sufficient time to hear the legal explanations on how these measures are in compliance with their commitments, to no satisfactory result," Ali Alwaleed Al Thani, the director of Qatar's WTO office, told the Reuters news agency on Monday.

"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."

later in the item -

The text of Qatar's WTO complaint cites "coercive attempts at economic isolation" and spells out how the blockading countries are impeding Qatar's trade rights.

The disputed restrictions include bans on trade through Qatar's ports and travel by Qatari citizens, blockages of Qatari digital services and websites, the closure of maritime borders and prohibition of flights operated by Qatari aircraft.
Qatar rejects renewed calls to fulfill neighbours’ demands

The complaint does not put a value on the trade boycott, and Al Thani declined to estimate how much Qatar could seek in sanctions if the litigation ever reached that stage, which can take five years or longer in the WTO system.

"We remain hopeful that the consultations could bear fruit in resolving this," he said.

Not in it for the money; a matter of principle?

UPDATE: This Reuters link, summarizing Emerates' position.

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