Britain could finalize Gulf trade deal this year, says Deputy Prime Minister Dowden

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has expressed optimism that a free trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could be finalized this year.

Speaking at a business conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dowden stressed that the UK government is prioritizing this agreement with the six-member GCC, which also includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Highlighting the important trading relationship, Dowden noted: “People forget that the GCC is actually Britain's fourth largest trading partner.” When asked about the likelihood of the deal being completed by the end of the year, he said: “I'm hopeful, of course. But as always, just as the GCC should get the best deal, we should get the best deal.”

Since leaving the European Union, Britain has signed three free trade agreements. Securing a deal with the energy-rich GCC would be a timely success for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government, especially with a general election on the horizon. This comes after recent setbacks, including stalled negotiations with Canada and India.

According to Deloitte, demand for imported goods and services in the Gulf countries is expected to increase by 35% to £800 billion by 2045. A deal would allow British companies to benefit significantly as services account for more than half of British exports to the make up GCC. . Currently, British companies pay an average of 5.5% in tariffs on exports to the Gulf. The UK government estimates that a trade deal could boost annual wages by £600 million and boost GDP by around £1.6 billion by 2035.

The negotiations, which began in 2022, were complex, given the need to reach a regional agreement with six diverse and often competing countries. These countries pose several barriers to foreign investment and lack a shared regulatory system. In addition, Britain has faced tensions with the UAE, a key regional ally and financial center, over geopolitical issues. However, sources familiar with the negotiations have indicated that these disputes are not expected to hinder the progress of the FTA.

Domestically, the British government is under close scrutiny over its expansion of trade with Gulf states, several of which have been accused of suppressing dissent. While Saudi Arabia has made progress toward social and economic reforms, British officials have privately expressed concerns about the crackdown on dissidents.

During the trade delegation in Riyadh, Dowden and Lord Johnson of Lainston, Minister of State for Business and Trade, praised Saudi Arabia's business potential. Dowden highlighted the £17 billion in bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia and expressed hope of increasing this to £30 billion as the kingdom pursues ambitious projects to diversify its economy away from dependence on oil. “I think there is huge opportunity here,” Dowden added.

With both sides showing a strong commitment to finalizing the agreement, a successful deal with the GCC could provide a significant boost to Britain's economic prospects.

Related Posts

  • Business
  • May 28, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 6 minutes Read
How leaflet distribution can boost local business growth

Did you know that distributing flyers is one of the most effective marketing strategies for local businesses? Research has shown that well-executed brochure campaigns can significantly increase local visibility and…

  • Business
  • May 28, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 3 minutes Read
Ryan Salame, part of the 'inner circle' at the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, sentenced to prison

NEW YORK — A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former FTX executive Ryan Salame to more than seven years in prison, the first of failed cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried's lieutenants…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Stumbling but breathing: How Steve Cohen's casino team will move forward

  • May 28, 2024
Stumbling but breathing: How Steve Cohen's casino team will move forward

J Lo's $1M-per-show deal for Las Vegas residency is in jeopardy as new album, concert tour flops

  • May 28, 2024
J Lo's $1M-per-show deal for Las Vegas residency is in jeopardy as new album, concert tour flops

Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United prediction, odds, line, start time: 2024 MLS picks, experts' best bets for May 29

  • May 28, 2024
Inter Miami vs.  Atlanta United prediction, odds, line, start time: 2024 MLS picks, experts' best bets for May 29

How leaflet distribution can boost local business growth

  • May 28, 2024
How leaflet distribution can boost local business growth

NATO allies are bracing for a possible Trump victory in 2024

  • May 28, 2024
NATO allies are bracing for a possible Trump victory in 2024

AI models have favorite numbers because they think they are people

  • May 28, 2024
AI models have favorite numbers because they think they are people

“Other” Celtics still have more work to do, but so far they have passed every test

  • May 28, 2024
“Other” Celtics still have more work to do, but so far they have passed every test

New lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania to prevent mail-in ballots from being thrown out

  • May 28, 2024
New lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania to prevent mail-in ballots from being thrown out

'When Calls the Heart' actress Mamie Laverock on life support after falling from balcony

  • May 28, 2024
'When Calls the Heart' actress Mamie Laverock on life support after falling from balcony

Ryan Salame, part of the 'inner circle' at the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, sentenced to prison

  • May 28, 2024
Ryan Salame, part of the 'inner circle' at the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, sentenced to prison

US court will hear challenges to a possible TikTok ban in September

  • May 28, 2024
US court will hear challenges to a possible TikTok ban in September