Enforcement’s “Coming Home” - Remember Qatar? Pre-World Cup Optimism for the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
Originally from the Journal of Enforcement of Arbitration Awards
Since June 2017, Qatar has been subject to a diplomatic and economic embargo by several Arab states and is viewed by former allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a pariah state. Many commentators felt that being frozen out by its neighbours could not have happened at a worse time for the country’s economy, particularly for the construction industry. However, with a World Cup in November 2022 that requires the construction of stadia and hotels, the spotlight is once again, firmly back on this small and wealthy country. Its hitherto pariah status does not appear to have materially dampened progress; in fact, the economy is booming. GDP from construction in Qatar increased to 23,114 QAR Million in the fourth quarter of 2019, from 22,626 QAR Million in the third quarter of 2019. Figures from January 2020 show a further increase to 23,114 QAR Million. According to a recent report produced by Mordor Intelligence, the Qatari government has planned to spend around USD 103 billion on major infrastructure projects in preparations for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The official budget for World Cup specific construction ranges between USD 8 billion and USD 10 billion, although that is in addition to the USD 200 billion being spent more generally to have a new metro system and huge infrastructure ready for 2022. Qatar is spending approximately USD 500 million a week on capital projects, such as stadiums, training camps, athlete villages and infrastructure projects necessary to make the country ready for 2022 like roads, hospitals and transport hubs. It goes without saying that this vast array of capital projects heralds a potential arbitration boom in Qatar. Arbitration booms lead to awards. Awards sometimes require enforcement in the country of the seat. Will the Qatari courts rise to the challenge when required?