The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday 5 June 2017 and blocked access (land, sea and air) for respective Qatar routes (Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Maldives, Comoros and Mauritania also cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. Jordan downgraded its representation).
Movement of people is disrupted with a number of regional and international airlines announcing flight cancellations to/from Doha. These actions have been taken unilaterally by a number of countries. Australia, like many other countries, continues to trade with Qatar. By doing so, the Australian Government is not supporting any political position and at all times expects Australian companies to adhere to the rule of law applicable from time to time.
Australian companies doing business with Qatar are advised to plan for operational disruptions and seek legal advice to assess contractual terms. Qatar is the third largest projects’ market (A$300 billion planned or under construction) in the GCC after KSA and UAE, with project companies already feeling the effect of slowdown in activity in 2016/2017. Closing vital land border with Saudi Arabia will affect Qatar’s imports including food and construction material. The rerouting of trade will raise the cost of imports and pass-through to consumer inflation.
Shipping and transport
UAE, KSA and Bahrain banned all vessels traveling directly from/to Qatar routes from entering their respective ports. Austrade is assisting Australian companies with shipping and transport queries on case-by-case basis.
Australians traveling to Qatar must check and register with the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website for the latest updates in relation to entry and exit requirements.
Construction industry and FIFA2022
In the short term, contractors are expected to face payment delays and immediate problems with staff movements. No immediate impact exists on the FIFA2022 projects, however, in the medium to long term, the crisis would lead to shortage of construction material and aggregates to complete projects on time with increase in construction costs. Some contractors and builders are already issuing notices of Force Majeure as a result of material shortages.
Please contact Mounir Sankary, Trade Commissioner if you have any queries or require assistance in relation to Qatar.
More information on doing business in Qatar