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Arab League Boycott:
Arab Country Boycott Policies

Arab Boycott: Table of Contents | Background & Overview | Antiboycott Regulations

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Syrian public sector companies ask in their tender announcements that bidders provide certificates stating that the bidders abide by the Arab League Boycott of Israel. However, in 1978, the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade issued a decision permitting U.S. companies to submit a "positive statement" stating that goods and their components are 100-percent made in the U.S. This allowed bidders to avoid the previous certification that their products were not produced in Israel, language which violates U.S. Anti-Boycott Compliance Law. Nonetheless, some companies still encounter problems obtaining import licenses when they refuse to respond to Syrian inquiries about company activities in Israel (including investments, or importing goods on vessels which have made port calls in Israel). Still others have found that they are unable to register trademarks without providing assurances that violate U.S. boycott laws. Although the Embassy maintains an active dialogue with the Syrian government to resolve these cases, we have found that the boycott is sometimes still an effective bar to U.S. investors/exporters.


There is no change in Saudi policy concerning the Arab League boycott of Israel. Saudi Arabia continues to support the primary boycott of Israel, but, like other countries in the region, does not uphold the secondary and tertiary aspects of the boycott. Although Saudi Arabia does maintain the primary boycott, sources indicate that a small number of Israeli products do make their way into the Saudi market, mainly through third parties. These products are mainly chemicals and apparel and are estimated to value less than $1 million.

In late 2005, Saudi Arabia was required to cease its boycott of Israel as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization. After initially saying that it would do so, the government subsequently announced it would maintain its first-degree boycott of Israeli products. The government said it agreed to lift the second and third degree boycott in accordance with an earlier Gulf Cooperation Council decision rather than the demands of the WTO.


The Israeli national team was barred by Morocco from the World Cross Country Championships held there in March 1998.


Egypt agreed to end its boycott following the signing of the peace treaty with Israel. Nevertheless, the 90th meeting of the Arab boycott liaison officers was held in Cairo in August 2016.


Qatar welcomes the Israeli handball team to the World Youth Handball Competition slated for the end of August, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. In spite of diplomatic pressure from Saudia Arabia and Bahrain who boycotted the games, one member of the Royal family said, "The Israeli team is no different than any other team. Sports and politics should be differentiated." Several editorials were published in Qataran newspapers during the past two months criticizing Israel's participation.


The UAE continues to support the boycott and sent a representative to the 90th conference in Cairo in August 2016.


Kuwait continues to support the boycott and sent a representative to the 90th conference in Cairo in August 2016.

Sources: Trade Information Center, International Trade Administration; Arab News (December 31, 2005); Jerusalem Post (March 28, 1998); Ma'ariv (December 23, 1998); Israeli Government Press Office (August 9, 1999); Gulf News, (August 2, 2016); KUNA (August 2, 2016).

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