Emirates News Agency – WTO Panel rules that Saudi Arabia’s national security defence is justified

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GENEVA, 16th June, 2020 (WAM) — On 16th June, 2020, a World Trade Organisation, WTO, dispute panel released its report ruling against Qatar, and finding that Saudi Arabia’s national security defence was justified under WTO rules.

The WTO Panel acknowledged that Saudi Arabia “seeks to protect Saudi citizens and the Saudi population, Saudi government institutions, and the territory of Saudi Arabia from the threats of terrorism and extremism” raised by Qatar in the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.

The Panel also found that Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive actions were “taken in time of other emergency in international relations”, based on extensive evidence presented to the WTO tribunal by Saudi Arabia regarding Qatar’s violations of regional agreements and commitments to renounce support for violence and unrest in the region.

Saudi Arabia also confirmed to the Panel that it provides strong protection of intellectual property rights, including criminal procedures and penalties in cases where credible evidence is available to the Government to support the initiation of proceedings. In addition to accepting Saudi Arabia’s national security defense, the Panel rejected Qatar’s remaining claims that Saudi law violated WTO rules, and rejected claims that the Saudi Government supported the alleged copyright piracy. Out of six claims by Qatar, the Panel’s single finding regarding criminal proceedings was rendered moot in the course of the WTO dispute.

Saudi Arabia has a strong record of protecting intellectual property and is committed to applying its national law and procedures in full conformity with WTO rules.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will spare no effort to overcome the threats of terrorism and extremism, and Saudi Arabia is pleased that the Panel recognised its sovereign rights in this regard.

WAM/Hazem Hussein

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