The Department for International Trade has this week announced that the launch of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar. Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Equivalent to the UK’s seventh largest export market, the GCC bloc’s demand for international products and services is expected to grow rapidly to £800 billion by 2035, a 35% increase – opening new opportunities for UK businesses.
In a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of State will meet the GCC Secretary General, Dr Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, and her counterparts from all six GCC countries, to launch talks expected to culminate in a trade deal worth £1.6 billion more a year to the UK economy.
It is the fourth major set of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations launched by the Trade Secretary this year, following visits to begin talks in India in January, Canada in March, and the launch of negotiations with Mexico last month.
Around 10,700 small and medium-sized businesses from every UK nation and region exported goods to the GCC in 2020, with SMEs accounting for more than 85% of total UK goods exporters to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Our current trading relationship was worth £33.1 billion in the last year alone. From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services, I’m excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than ten thousand SMEs already exporting to the region”, said UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.