KU News Service

Qatar trade complaint against other nations raises 'unprecedented issues' in trade, national security, professor says

Tue, 08/01/2017

LAWRENCE — Qatar filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization on Monday to challenge a trade boycott against the nation led by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates. The move is the first step in a trade dispute among the four nations and sets in place a 60-day deadline to settle the complaint with the WTO before litigation or potential sanctions are put in place.

Raj Bhala, an expert in both international trade law and Islamic Law (Shari’a) at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss the ongoing dispute with media. Bhala, associate dean for international & comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor at the KU School of Law, said the dispute “raises profound and unprecedented issues about the connection between national security and international trade and places tremendous strain on the self-destructing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the under-performing WTO.”

Bhala can discuss the GCC and WTO, economic and political relations among Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, specific legal claims and defenses in the new WTO dispute, its causes, potential ramifications, significance of trade sanctions and more. He has authored dozens of books and journal articles on international trade law, including “TPP Objectively: Law, Economics and National Security of History’s Largest, Longest Free Trade Agreement,” “Understanding Islamic Law (Shari’a),” the textbook International Trade Law and “Modern GATT Law.” He has also practiced international banking law at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before joining academia. He has worked in more than 25 countries around the world, including all of the WTO members in the case – the complainant, Qatar, and the respondents, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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