Arab News, Thursday, Jun 23, 2022 | Zul Qaadah 23, 1443
Talks begin on GCC-UK deal to boost trade by at least 16%
Negotiations aimed at boosting trade between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation
Council countries, which currently stands at $34 billion, began in Riyadh on
UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan met GCC
Secretary-General Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajjraf to launch the trade talks, according
to an official press release.
The UK is the third-largest export market for the
GCC, and the new trade negotiations are expected to benefit exporters from both
“I’m excited to open up new markets for UK
businesses large and small, and supporting the more than 10,000 SMEs already
exporting to the region,” said Trevelyan.
She added: “This trade deal has the potential to
support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital
green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf.”
The UK government analysis has suggested that a
deal with the GCC is expected to increase trade by at least 16 percent, which
will add at least $1.6 billion a year to the country’s economy.
As the GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, are
aiming to diversify their economies, the new trade negotiations are expected to
attract exports and investments in areas like technology, cyber, life sciences,
creative industries, education, and artificial intelligence.
“A UK-GCC free trade agreement will increase trade
and investment both ways, contributing to economic growth and prosperity in the
UK, Saudi Arabia and across the Gulf, and cementing the strong diplomatic
cooperation between the UK and GCC countries,” said Neil Crompton, British
ambassador to Saudi Arabia.