Britain looks to Gulf countries for new trade deal
LONDON: Britain will take its first step towards trade negotiations with the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), asking British businesses what they want an agreement to cover, Reuters reported.
Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan is targeting a deal with the GCC, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, as she looks to build new ties around the world; following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
On Friday, Trevelyan will launch a 14-week consultation, calling on the public and businesses to share their views on what a deal should look like. She will also meet representatives of the GCC in London.
“We want a modern, comprehensive agreement that breaks down trade barriers to a huge food and drinks market and in areas like digital trade and renewable energy, which will deliver well-paid jobs in all parts of the UK,” she said in a statement.
A deal would be an advance on the relations Britain had as an EU member: The EU meets the GCC annually to build economic cooperation and develop closer trade and investment ties, but 18-year negotiations over a trade deal stalled in 2008.
The GCC has not implemented a free trade deal since 2015 and Britain did not set out a timetable for negotiations.
Britain already has close strategic and military ties with the Gulf countries, and trade with the region was worth more than 30 billion pounds in 2020.
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