Home News Analysis How did Qatar overcome obstacles of Gulf blockade?

How did Qatar overcome obstacles of Gulf blockade?

Qatar focused on strengthening its economy through increased and sustained interaction with the world. It helped Qatar not only to become an economic power but also a global tourist destination. The question s who emerged as winner after a Saudi-led alliance imposed unilateral blockade on Qatar?

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The state of Qatar has successfully dealt with the unilateral blockade imposed by the Arab states. The success of the tiny oil-rich country has been acknowledged by the western countries as well. British ambassador Ajay Sharma has recently remarked that Qatar has responded extremely well to the challenges that came out of the Gulf dispute, which positively impacted the country overall, particularly it’s economy.

Highlighting how Qatar dealt with the crisis from June 2017, he cited the country’s efforts to develop new facilities such as the Hamad Port, recording substantial container traffic year-on-year. “We’ve seen that the Qatari economy is going very well and Qatar develop new trading relationships with countries,” the envoy told a recent press briefing.

Read more: Ending blockade: Qatar and Saudi Arabia are moving towards a major breakthrough

The port, which opened three months after the imposition of the blockade on Qatar, now serves as a key infrastructure that facilitates smooth import and export trades for the country. “If you look at other areas I think Baladna is a standout example of how Qatar is now meeting its dairy needs and being self-sufficient and even exporting,” Sharma said.

He added that Qatar also developed quickly and successfully on the economic and business side as it forged stronger relationships with several other countries across the world. “We’ve seen Qatar very active internationally, in international organisations, through their financial and political support,” the envoy added.

Interestingly, GVS reported in 2019 that the State of Qatar has successfully dealt with the challenges posed by Arab countries as a result of ‘complete blockade’.

Read more: GCC: Not yet ready to remove blockade from Qatar?

On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, closing land, air and sea links, as they accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” and their regional rival, Iran. Doha vehemently denies the charges and says the boycott aims to impinge on its sovereignty.

As a result of the blockade, Qatar faced several challenges. Maryam bint Abdullah al-Attiyah, Secretary-General National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), pointed to “the seriousness of the violations affecting Qatari children as a result of the blockade imposed on the country, expressing regret that the celebration of the Universal Children’s Day coincided with the continuing violations and discriminatory measures of the blockade countries, which did not exclude any category of Qatari society, including children”.

She added that these violations against Qatari children, even children from the blockade countries, are no longer hidden because of the deprivation of their basic rights, especially the right to family reunification with their parents, where Qatari children were prevented from traveling and settling with their parents, only because they had Qatari citizenship.

Read more: World Leaders praise Qatar for dealing with blockade through focusing on economy

On the economic front, Qatar has been able to deal with the blockade. “We’ve overcome the obstacles of the blockade and we’re also closer to achieving Qatar’s national vision for the year 2030,” the emir said. The emir also said that Qatar would post a budget surplus this year, its first in three years, after a deficit a year ago.

Last year, the oil and gas-rich country had forecast a 4.3bn riyal ($1.1bn) budget surplus in 2019, after an estimated 28.1bn riyal deficit in 2018.

In May 2018, Qatar’s largest commercial bank, Qatar National Bank (QNB), reported that the country’s account surplus has widened to 6.4 percent of the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.

In his speech, Sheikh Tamim said the country’s currency maintained its value despite various attempts aimed at dismantling it since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

Qatar-Turkey trade volume for the first 10 months of 2018, the latest data available, indicates $1.7 billion of total trade, higher than the $1.3 billion in all of 2017

The growth witnessed by Qatar’s economy in various sectors, including education, health, food, and agriculture, following the blockade are part of programs adopted by the state to diversify its economy. “We executed national programs that enhanced local production,” Sheikh Tamim said, referring specifically to the last three years.

Qatar has been making all possible efforts to strengthen its economy. In this regard, it is important to point out that Turkey and Qatar enjoy friendly and brotherly relations despite the latter’s blockade by Arab states since 2017.

Trade between Qatar and Turkey is expected to have hit $2 billion in 2018, a Turkish official said, up 54 percent from the previous last year and underscoring Ankara’s solidified role as a top ally to Qatar amid a political rift in the Gulf region.

Read More: Qatar blockade just strategy to maintain hegemony over Middle East?

Qatar-Turkey trade volume for the first 10 months of 2018, the latest data available, indicates $1.7 billion of total trade, higher than the $1.3 billion in all of 2017, a Turkish trade official told international media. That trade includes goods such as Turkish food and building materials to Qatar and Qatari liquefied natural gas and aluminum to Turkey.

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