Yemen responds by closing its borders to Saudi goods [Archives:2004/703/Business & Economy]

January 15 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Yemeni-Saudi differences on marketing the two countries' products have merged to surface as Sana'a has dealt with the Saudi attitude in the same manner. Sana'a has decided to prevent the entry of Saudi products in reply to the Saudi decision it had taken lately to prevent Yemeni agricultural products from entering its territories. Saudi authorities ascribe he causes of its decision to claiming that Yemeni products were polluted with contagious bacterial viruses.
In return for that, according to news reports, Sana'a has denied the Saudi allegations concerning the pollution of its agricultural products describing them as groundless.
Official source at the Yemeni ministry of agriculture had strongly rebuffed the Saudi allegations saying that news was groundless and not dependent on a scientific fact adding that Yemeni exporters were committed to implementing specifications of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with regard to agricultural products. He considered the Saudi decisions of boycotting, whether in the past period or presently as not based on accurate scientific data.
The Saudi al-Watan newspaper mentioned at the end of last week that the Yemeni authorities had requested from their Saudi counterparts to reconsider the boycott it had imposed lately on exporting agricultural products.
The paper also mentioned that an official source at the Yemeni agriculture ministry explained that the 7-member Saudi team of experts was convinced of safety of the measures followed in agriculture and export but the Yemeni agricultural bodies were surprised by the Saudi boycotting decision against Yemeni agricultural goods. The Yemeni official considered the Saudi decisions were not based on accurate scientific data and that a ministerial meeting held in Riyadh last August had decided to send a technical team. The government source added that '' Yemen exports its agricultural products to Arab and European countries and they are welcomed because f their good quality and suitable prices. The ministry o agriculture has taken a series of measures and controls aimed at improving the level of the goods quality and protecting the consumer inside and outside Yemen.''
It is worth mentioning that Yemeni political and economic circles had asked the government to have a suitable reply to the Saudi decision and to prevent the Saudi products from entering the Yemeni markets in the same manner. Political sources said the Yemeni decision of preventing the Saudi goods would lead to stop many Saudi factories that depend on Yemeni markets for selling their products as the volume of their annual sales amount to about SR 800 million.
Meanwhile Kuwait had on Tuesday strongly denied importing of any Yemeni agricultural products, pointing that in case it wanted to import any products it would be according to the law of the unified agricultural quarantine of the GCC countries. According to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Watan and in commenting on news about infection of Yemeni agricultural products with pollution a Kuwaiti agricultural official said Kuwait was not importing any of products at the time being.
On the other hand a reliable source told al-Nahar weekly last Thursday that a meting would be held beginning of next week in the governorate of Sa'da comprising merchants and farmers from the Abha chamber of commerce and representatives of Yemeni chambers of commerce and industry to discuss he subject and the issues of difference in an attempt to solve them.
The Saudi ambassador to Yemen had a few days ago denied in a press statement that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had closed its borders to Yemeni products, while observers considered the Saudi measure as part of series of pressures practiced by Riyadh because of it claims as Yemeni leniency in hunting down of smugglers of weapons and rugs across the borders. It had said before that all weapons and explosives used in acts of terror were coming from Yemen.