Britain has stated that it is in the process of concluding a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) within one year.
Free trade agreement negotiations between Britain and GCC continue, British Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone said.
Grimstone said at a conference in Dubai that the agreement would be concluded within 12 months.
A British government website showed that the GCC countries are already an important trading partner for Britain, as the value of British exports to them amounted to about 22 billion pounds, while the value of trade between the two sides exceeded 30 billion pounds in 2020.
Last October, Britain and the GCC officially launched negotiations on a free trade agreement.
London has been seeking since its exit from the European Union to strengthen its trade relations outside the bloc, as announced by Bahrain, which currently chairs GCC.
The Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani said in a statement, “It is a matter of pride and honor to officially announce today the launch of free trade negotiations between the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and the United Kingdom, which we have worked hard on as a priority since the beginning of this year.”
The United Kingdom maintains close economic and political relations with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.
Earlier, a member of the Board of Directors of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dirar Al-Ghanim, a member of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, met the British Minister of International Trade Praniel Jayawardena. Two sides discussed the distinguished relations between the two friendly countries.
Al-Ghanim affirmed the Chamber to harness its capabilities in order to achieve common economic goals.
For his part, the British Minister of International Trade stressed the importance of the Kuwaiti-British bilateral relations, especially that his country’s government pays great attention to the Arab Gulf states, especially after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
He said that the two sides are looking forward to starting negotiations to sign a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the GCC countries.
With regard to the economic situation after the pandemic, the minister confirmed that the British economy has begun to recover gradually from the negative economic effects, expressing his hope that these effects will be overcome in the near future.