Four sources with inside information said that the Four Arab countries that imposed blockade on Qatar have told the United States that US companies doing business with them would not be punished for also working with Doha.
Foreign firms have become increasingly cautious on their cross border dealings over concerns they could fall foul of the region’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years.
The Arab quartet sent a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in July telling him that US companies would not be discriminated against as part of the blockade, according to sources with knowledge of the letter.
The European Union has also been given similar “official … verbal assurances” by the UAE, the EU Delegation to the UAE told Reuters.
In the letter to Tillerson, the four countries said that they valued and intended to maintain their relationships with US companies and that those ties would not be affected by the blockade, according to a source who has seen the letter.
The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment on the letter. The four Arab states did not immediately respond to Reuters questions on the letter.
Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for said on July 17 that the UAE would not ask foreign companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar.
That followed comments from UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash to Britain’s Guardian newspaper on June 28 that companies could be made to choose between the countries as part of new sanctions on Qatar.
Top US companies have large investments in countries on both sides of the dispute and there are big contracts to be won in wealthy Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
The US has a lot to gain in the middle-east already siphoning off Saudi Arabia with a business deals worth tens of billions of dollars with US companies during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh.
Just this May State-owned airlines in the UAE and Qatar are leading customers of US planemaker Boeing, and Doha, which will host the 2022 World Cup, is seeking partners to take part in a huge expansion of its gas production.
Some companies have even taken measures to restructure their Middle East operations so that Qatar no longer reports to their regional headquarters, often located in Dubai, in a bid to avoid any conflict.
One of the sources said that there have been no known incidents of a US company being discriminated against by the four Arab countries because of the dispute with Qatar so far and the official statement solidifies the Arab bloc’s intentions.