WTO members must conduct free trade with other members. Except, of course, when it comes to Israel.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to lift certain aspects of its boycott against Israel in an attempt to satisfy US demands regarding the Saudi request to join the World Trade Organization.
An agreement between US and Saudi trade representatives was signed last week. As part of this agreement, the Saudi government declares it will not enforce a boycott against American firms that have trade relations with Israel. The Saudis also commit themselves to obeying WTO trade rules regarding all member countries of the organization, including Israel. This does not mean that Saudi Arabia is abandoning the Arab boycott against Israel, but it does limit the scope of the boycott.
“This [agreement] represents progress for Saudi Arabia, the US and the WTO,” said a statement issued Friday by US trade representative Rob Portman.
One of the conditions set by the US for signing a trade agreement with Saudi Arabia was abandoning the boycott against Israel, and the final wording of the agreement is a result of lengthy negotiations on this issue.
What does this mean?
Saudi Arabia hopes to join the WTO by the end of this year and the agreement reached with the US paves the road to reaching this goal.
Good to know that the U.S. is Israel’s ally.