Britain will launch talks over a new free trade deal with six Gulf States in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will visit Riyadh to begin discussions with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is made up of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
She will meet the GCC Secretary-General, Dr. Nayef al-Hajraf, and her counterparts from all GCC countries.
Talks are expected to culminate in a trade deal worth 1.6 billion pounds more a year to the UK economy, from increased exports of manufactured goods and agricultural produce to financial and digital services.
The GCC bloc is equivalent to the UK’s seventh largest export market. In 2021, total trade between the UK and the GCC was worth 33.1 billion pounds ($40.35 billion).
The GCC’s demand for international products and services is expected to grow rapidly to 800 billion pounds by 2035, a 35% increase – opening huge new opportunities for UK businesses.
It is the fourth major set of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations launched by Trevelyan this year, following visits to begin talks in India in January, Canada in March, and the launch of negotiations with Mexico last month.
“Today marks the next significant milestone in our five-star year of trade as we step up the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf,” Trevelyan stated.
“Our current trading relationship was worth 33.1 billion pounds in the last year alone. From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services,” she added.
Trevelyan stressed she is 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.