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Direct exports to Qatar unaffected by boycott

Last month five Arabian countries broke all diplomatic ties with Qatar. Thus the latest political crisis in the Middle East was born. This week the ultimatum of the five countries to meet a list of thirteen demands expired. Qatar responded to the five countries in a letter, and are considering the reaction. The fruit and vegetable export to the country isn't yet affected by the boycott. The export from the Netherlands also continues, says Ron van der Leek of EFP International.

The conflict arose after comments by the Emir (political leader) of Qatar about the relationship with Iran were revealed. The Emir supposedly said that there is no reason for the Arabian countries to bear animosity towards Iran. This did not sit well with neighbouring countries Saudi-Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen. These countries imposed sanctions. Libya, the Maldives, Mauritius, Senegal and the Comoros joined them. Chad, Djibouti, Jordan and Niger severed some relations. Besides the comments about Iran, accusations of financing terrorist organisations was added to the list. According to Qatar the Emir didn't comment on Iran and the news agency that spread the report is a victim of a cyber attack.

Empty supermarkets
Shortly after the boycott was announced, reports appeared that the Qataris were stocking up. Photos of empty shelves in supermarkets appeared on social media. An importer from Qatar said that shortly after the boycott was announced there was no negative effect for trade. "The current situation is that all imports over the borders must be stopped," said Shafeeque Siyad of Al Jamila Vegetables and Fruit in June. "All imports will now take place by sea and air freight and via Iran. This will cause a delay of a day or two, but doesn't mean we have to stop importing."

Despite the fact that the boycott has been enforced for a month, there are no consequences for the exports from the Netherlands. "It's more of an Arabian affair. It's the countries around Qatar who are making it difficult for Qatar for political reasons. We don't notice much of it, as we export directly to Qatar. As far as that's concerned it has had no effect at the moment," says Ron van der Leek. "Qatar receives a lot through Dubai for instance, so they need time to find other routes. We fly directly to Qatar so not much has actually changed for us." Ron does see that there is more demand from Qatar, but he has a side note: "Whether this will amount to anything is the question."

Iran situation unchanged
The oil state is mostly dependent on imports, in which neighbouring countries play a role. Since the boycott Iran and Turkey have indicated their desire to increase the export of fruits and vegetables, among other things, to Qatar. Last year some of the Western sanctions against Iran were lifted. "It will be some time before the first trade gets going," said Ron in Primeur a year ago. "We are keeping our eyes and ears open, but it isn't a market in which it's easy to see."

The situation with Iran hasn't changed. "We can't trade, as there are still sanctions. Our bank has also told us we can't do business. Little has changed," Ron concludes.

More informaiton:
EFP International
Ron van der Leek
0031 (0) 174 316194  

Publication date: 7/11/2017


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