Qatar Bans Saudi, U.A.E. Goods Days Before Embargo Anniversary

(Bloomberg) -- Almost a year after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, the gas-rich country decided to stop consuming goods from its rivals.

Qatar’s economy ministry ordered shops to strip shelves of products imported from the four countries, according to a circular sent on Saturday. Inspectors will visit stores to insure compliance with the ban.

A spokesman for the economy ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt cut economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the country of financing terrorist groups and having close ties with Iran, charges Qatar rejects. The rift forced Qatar to shift import routes to Kuwait and Oman, and buy goods from Iran and Turkey.

Qatar, which has one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, absorbed the shock of the embargo. The economy expanded faster than most of its neighbors last year and is expected to outperform this year, according to International Monetary Fund data.

After shoring up ties in Western capitals and spending billions on weapons, Qatar plans to retool its economy to attract foreign investment and build a financial hub for companies in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Pakistan.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.