Mubasher: The UK began talks with the UAE and the neighboring GCC nations over a trade agreement following Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU), according to the UAE economy minister.
“Such agreements can take years to negotiate,” Arabian Business reported, citing Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri as saying on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Al-Mansouri didn’t reveal further details on the outline of a potential deal.
A government spokesperson said that UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox attended the same World Government Summit in Dubai and participated in a raft of high-level political and business discussions with UAE officials and businesses.
“The UAE is a vital global trading partner for the UK,” the Department for International Trade (DIT) spokesperson told Arabian Business.
The UK’s premier Theresa May is looking for the strongest possible trading relationships between Britain and the GCC after the UK departs from the EU.
In December 2016, the UK-GCC Trade Working Group was formed to examine how the two regions can boost the trade relationship once the UK has left the EU, the spokesperson added.
“The UK would be pushing hard for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the GCC regional bloc,” M.R. Raghu, head of research, Kuwait Financial Centre, commented on a potential GCC-UK trade deal.
He highlighted that GCC-UK bilateral trade amounts to around $50 billion.
“An FTA between the EU and GCC region has been in discussion since 1998 but never materialised. The GCC might capitalise on the current opportunity for an FTA with UK,” he added.