Another one on way! Truss in talks for £35bn mega-Middle East trade deal with SIX nation

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Ministers have started negotiations with their Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts in a bid to cut tariffs on key imports and exports including Cars and Crude petroleum. The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Figures from the UK Government show trade from the Gulf Countries accounted for £35billion of the United Kingdom’s £40billion trade with the Middle East in 2018.

In 2018, exports to the UAE, one of the Gulf Countries, from the UK totalled more than £10.5billion and with a trade surplus of more than £4billion.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss held talks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia last month to bring forward a UK-GCC Joint Trade and Investment Review, which will bring forward a deal.

Whitehall officials said the UK are “very keen” to secure a GCC trade deal to boost better access to Middle East markets.


One source close to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, said: “A GCC trade deal would be the crown jewel for UK trade in the Middle East.

“A GCC deal would help to put the UK on the world stage in post-Brexit trade.”

Simon Penney, Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, said the GCC was a “critically important partner.”

He added: “We have the freedom to determine terms on which we do business around the world.”

Lord Edward Lister, co-chair of the UAE-UK Business Council and a former advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the move.

Speaking at a recent event, he said: “There is a lot of work underway at the moment – consultation is shortly about to start on it – on new trade arrangements into the Gulf, which will be a free-trade agreement.

“That’s a major piece of government work.”

It is the latest post-Brexit move in the Middle East after the UAE and UK signed a strategic investment partnership agreement in March, with the Mubadala Investment Company committing to invest £800 million in the British life sciences industry over the next five years.

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Lord Lister praised the Mubadala deal which is a “rare example” of the UK government investing jointly with a wealth fund for growth opportunities.

He stressed: “I think that gives us lots and lots of opportunities.”

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