Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, intends to strengthen financial links with the United Kingdom as part of a bilateral effort to strengthen trade and commercial ties.
The kingdom has authorized Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan to discuss the draft of a preliminary agreement with the UK Treasury to “enhance cooperation in the areas of developing financial and public financial services,” according to a Cabinet statement released on Tuesday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
According to SPA, the Ministry of Finance was told to sign the authorized deal and then “finish the legal procedures.”
Since leaving the EU at the end of 2020, the United Kingdom has tried to strengthen trade relations with the six-member GCC economic group. Britain already has deep strategic and defense connections with the Gulf states, and it hopes to increase its commerce with the GCC, which is expected to reach £30 billion ($40.54 billion) in 2020.
Following a meeting of foreign ministers in the United Kingdom in December, the two countries signaled that they were “laying the groundwork for a new era” in commercial ties.
Substantive discussions on a free-trade deal are scheduled to begin this year, according to an announcement made during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at Chevening House in Kent, who hailed the pact as a “win-win for all sides.”
A trade deal with the EU might be signed by the end of 2022, but given the number of nations involved, London has not ruled out signing bilateral arrangements, particularly with strong allies such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.