UK committed to securing 'significant' trade deal with GCC

A third round of negotiations is expected to take place in Riyadh in 2023

The UK government projects it would add at least £1.6 billion a year in UK trade going through GCC ports, including Dubai. AP
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A second round of trade talks between the UK and GCC nations has taken place, the British government said on Tuesday.

More than 100 GCC officials travelled to London for discussions, while others participated in the talks online.

A series of discussions on a free-trade agreement (FTA) took place between December 5 and 9, with talks on 29 policy areas.

A third round of negotiations is expected to take place in Riyadh next year, the British government said.

Trade talks between the UK and the GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, officially started in June.

The UK estimated it would add at least £1.6 billion ($1.86bn) a year to its domestic economy. It also estimated that a pact would contribute an additional £600 million to British workers’ annual wages.

The UK set out policy positions and shared a draft text while the GCC explained its positions and priorities.

Westminster said a deal would bring “substantial economic opportunity” for the UK and mark “a significant moment” in the country’s relationship with the GCC.

The UK’s trading relationship with the six GCC nations is worth about £45bn a year. The region is the largest trading partner for the UK after the US, the EU and China.

Trade focuses heavily on fossil fuels and weapons. While the UK buys oil and gas from the Gulf nations, it sells them arms, aircraft, engines and vehicles.

Britain also exports financial, educational and consultancy services to the Gulf.

Updated: December 20, 2022, 5:40 PM