According to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, the UK is pursuing trade agreements with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Truss told the Daily Telegraph, “The Gulf is a definite aim, and we’re working on the approach to (the) Gulf.”
“We are in talks with the GCC, and I hope to have more information on that soon.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar account for a major share of Britain’s overseas commerce.
In 2019, the UK’s trade with the six Gulf states was worth around $63.5 billion, putting the GCC behind only the US, China and the EU in value of trading partners.
Truss is also closing in on a potentially lucrative investment deal with Mubadala, the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, which a source told the Daily Telegraph is “getting some real traction now” after a “couple of very big meetings.”
Mubadala is said to be targeting investment in the UK’s health, clean energy, infrastructure and technology sectors, in what could be a significant boost to Britain’s post-Brexit economy.
Since the UK’s decision to leave the EU was implemented at the beginning of this year, the country has been pushing hard for trade deals with its existing trade partners and allies.
Last year, the British government announced a review into UK-GCC trade, and said in a statement: “With the United Kingdom embarking on its new independent trade policy outside of the European Union, and with GCC Member States delivering their economic diversification and vision plans, now is the moment for the United Kingdom and the GCC to build on their historic and deep friendship to develop even closer economic ties, boosting our trade and investment further still.”
“We celebrate the strength of our bilateral partnership, which is never more evident than in our continuous work on the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said, “and share an ambition to grow our businesses, attract new investment, create new jobs, and ensure prosperity in the years ahead.”