Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade
Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade.

UK prepares for “advanced” trade deal with Gulf Cooperation Council

The UK has started preparations for an advanced trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), launching a 14-week consultation ahead of negotiations starting in 2022.

The GCC is a key trading partner, with almost £22bn of UK exports and bilateral trade worth over £30bn in 2020.

British business could seize new opportunities in areas like renewable energy and play a key role in helping a region that wants to move away from a reliance on oil. Financial and digital services companies, along with education and healthcare providers could also strengthen their position in a region that holds UK expertise in high regard.

Over £597m of British food and drink exports headed to GCC countries last year, including lamb, biscuits and chocolate. Farmers and food producers could now benefit from better market access to a region that imports virtually all its food and has high demand for top-quality British produce.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, International Trade Secretary said: “A trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is a huge opportunity to liberalise trade with a growing market for British business and deepen ties with a region that is vital to our strategic interests. 

“We want a modern, comprehensive agreement that breaks down trade barriers to a huge food and drink market and in areas like digital trade and renewable energy which will deliver well-paid jobs in all parts of the United Kingdom.”

Ranil Jayawardena, International Trade Minister commented: “The nations forming the Gulf Cooperation Council are, together, one of our biggest trading and investment partners and are home to over 50m people.

“From exports of Welsh lamb and Scotch beef, to biscuits from Belfast and financial services from the City of London, we are determined to strike a deal that will further cement our relationships, attract investment, promote trade opportunities and provide significant benefits for British business, creating jobs in communities across the country.”

Paul Benton, managing director, Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), added: “As the economies of the region have matured and diversified in recent years, we have seen a significant demand for proven UK HealthTech, and enhanced trade opportunities with the region will only boost this further.”

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