UK and Gulf nations negotiate trade deal

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Manama

The United Kingdom and the six Gulf Cooperation Council states have begun preliminary talks on a free trade agreement, Bahrain said, as London seeks to bolster its trade position post-Brexit.

“It brings me great joy and pleasure to officially announce the official launch of FTA negotiations between GCC countries and UK today,” Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, Bahrain’s minister of industry, commerce and tourism, said late Friday.

It is an “initiative that we have worked tirelessly on realising since the kingdom of Bahrain’s assumption of the GCC presidency at the beginning of this year”, added Zayani. The UK already enjoys strong economic links with the nations of the GCC, comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“We shall collectively embark on a new chapter, which will solidify our long standing trade and investment cooperation and build upon the strong foundations forged over the past centuries,” Zayani said. Trade between the UK and the Gulf nations topped 30b poundsin 2020, according to British govt.

“A trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is a huge opportunity to liberalise trade with a growing market for British business and deepen ties with a region that is vital to our strategic interests.”—APP

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