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.
The Egyptian Minister of Education and Culture, Farouk Hosni, yesterday rejected an Israeli request to participate in the international book fair slated to be held in Cairo beginning on January 28.
The Minister emphasized that the request was rejected because of the failure of the State of Israel to implement the peace process with the Arabs.
He noted that "I myself oppose any cultural normalization with Israel, and we will accept her willingly only once there is a just and comprehensive peace and after the implementation of all the agreements with all the Arab states.
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.
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)