The UK is hoping to enter negotiations in the coming months for a free trade agreement with the GCC in a bid to boost bilateral trade.
Simon Penney, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East and Her Majesty’s Consul General to Dubai and the Northern Emirates told Euronews: "We’re currently at the stage now where we’re working with our GCC hosts and looking at what that mandate will look like as we seek to enter negotiations."
The GCC is the UK’s third largest export market globally outside of the European Union, behind the United States of America and China.
Trade between the GCC and UK exceeded more than 46bn euros before COVID with British exports amounting to 25bn euros in 2020.
"[It] is a very strong foundation on which we are building our trade relationship going forward," Simon Penney said, adding "It’s across a whole spectrum of sectors and industries that matter both to the United Kingdom, but also and arguably, more importantly, to the economic transformation that is happening here in the Gulf."
The UAE is the UK’s 25th largest trading partner globally and the free trade agreement will cement the UK’s relationships across the wider GCC in the post Brexit era.
"It’s a huge opportunity for us as the UK, but most importantly for British businesses who are looking for new markets to expand." Simon Penney also told Euronews.
"It gives us a higher degree of sort of independence and the ability for us to chart our own future with the Gulf in the Middle East."
A Dubai resident for over 13 years, Simon Penney described how the emirate has positioned itself as a global business destination hub.
"It’s gone through an exceptional transformation…you’re seeing significant economic transformation occurring, and that is going to continue for years and decades to come."