News ID: 215793
Published: 1151 GMT May 27, 2018

Qatar bans goods from blockading countries

Qatar bans goods from blockading countries
REUTERS

Qatar said it was banning products originating from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, almost a year after those states imposed an embargo on Doha.

“Products originating from the blockading states, which as a result of the blockade cannot pass the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council Customs Territory, have to undergo proper import inspections and customs procedures,” a government statement said, Reuters reported on Sunday.

“To protect the safety of consumers in the State of Qatar and to combat improper trafficking of goods, the government issued a directive to find new suppliers of the variety of goods impacted.”

The national Al Watan newspaper quoted a circular from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce telling traders and shops to stop dealing in products imported from the four countries. It said inspectors would monitor compliance with the policy.

The government will also try and stop products such as Saudi dairy goods from entering Qatar via a third country.

"Qatar conducts its trade policy in accordance with all of its multilateral and bilateral agreements."

The order comes just days before the anniversary of the blockade.

Since June 5 last year, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut all relations with Qatar, accusing it of financing terrorist groups and having close ties with Iran.

The countries subsequently imposed a trade and diplomatic boycott on Qatar, which rejects the charges and says the countries are seeking regime change in Doha.

The row has forced Qatar, which previously relied on its Arab neighbors, to look elsewhere for food imports, including Turkey, Morocco and Iran.

Many such imports enter the country via ports such as Kuwait and Oman.

It is through these ports, and also via individuals, that goods from the boycotting countries manage to get in to Qatar, said a source with knowledge of the situation.

"Businessmen from the blockading countries are trying to go around the blockade... by using third parties," said the source.

Imports into Qatar plunged about 40 percent from a year earlier in the initial weeks of the boycott, but they have since mostly returned to normal as Doha developed new shipping routes. Qatar has also launched a drive to produce more things locally, including foods.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told Alsharq Al-awsat newspaper on Sunday he saw no resolution to the diplomatic row in sight.

 

   
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