UK eyes more trade with Gulf region

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The UK hopes to get a free trade agreement in place with the countries of the Gulf.


The UK government has launched a consultation with businesses in the hope of paving the way for a free trade deal with the Gulf region.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan began proceedings with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) this week with the aim of taking their trade relationship to the next level.

In a statement, she said farmers and food producers in particular would benefit from better market access in the Gulf since it imports almost all of its food.

The consultation will include questionnaires to gather information about the experience of doing business in the Gulf, as well as areas companies would want a free trade deal to cover.

It is set to conclude in January 2022.

Ms Trevelyan commented: "A trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is a huge opportunity to liberalise trade with a growing market ... We want a modern, comprehensive agreement that breaks down trade barriers."

Containing the largest economies in the Arab world, the GCC is already an important trading partner for the UK, as well as a frequent political ally.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has already spoken to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman to welcome the launch of the consultation.