UAE revises blanket ban on Qatar shipping after Doha's WTO complaint

UAE revises blanket ban on Qatar shipping after Doha's WTO complaint
The UAE has eased a ban on the shipping of goods between it and Qatar implemented as part of the 2017 boycott.
2 min read
20 February, 2019
Dhows, traditional sailing vessels, with Qatar flags anchored in Doha [Getty Images)
The United Arab Emirates has eased a shipping ban of goods between it and Qatar imposed as part of the political and economic boycott of Doha.

The development could perhaps be linked to complaints about the boycott filed to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Since 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar, accusing it of seeking closer ties with Iran and of supporting extremist groups, charges Qatar denies.

An Abu Dhabi Ports circular dated February 12 cancelled previous orders that banned cargoes of Qatar origin from UAE waters and ports and those of UAE origin from Qatar, Reuters reported.

But it has maintained a ban on ships donning the Qatari flag, owned by Qatari shipping firms or nationals. Vessels with UAE flags similarly cannot dock at Qatar ports.

Liberian flagged container ship MSC ELSA 3 arrived at Dubai's Jebel Ali Port on February 20 from Qatar's Umm Said, according to Refinitiv data.

Qatar filed a legal complaint to the WTO against the economic blockade imposed by its three neighbours in July 2017.

The four Arab states have reiterated they would make no compromises in their demand that Doha change its policies.

A defiant Qatar has rejected the list of 13 demands from the coalition, which included shutting broadcaster Al Jazeera and the London-based The New Arab, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and closing a Turkish military base.

Doha says the Saudi-Emirati led blockade seeks to punish its independent foreign policy and support for Arab Spring protests.