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UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement – Last Chance to Contribute

Date Posted: Fri, 07 Jan, 2022

UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement – Last Chance to Contribute



Summary of discussion from the UK-GCC FTA consultation event with the UK Department for International Trade, the British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi and BBG Dubai & Northern Emirates

The UK’s Deputy Chief Negotiator set out their ambitions for securing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC is a major trading partner of the UK, with £23.7 billion worth of UK exports going there last year, and an overall trade relationship worth £32.5 billion. An FTA is an opportunity to grow this already strong trading relationship.

The UK is currently running a public consultation, closing on 14th January, which signifies a key milestone towards launching negotiations with the GCC in the coming months. The consultation provides UK businesses and individuals with the opportunity to inform and shape the UK’s future negotiating mandate and a final UK-GCC FTA. The Department for International Trade (DIT) are wanting to hear from businesses about the key opportunities and barriers they face when operating in the GCC, and any barriers that are preventing businesses from entering the market. 

Once the Consultation closes, DIT will carefully work through the responses to understand where the UK’s interests are most critical, and this will determine the final negotiating scope and mandate. Ahead of the launch of negotiations with the GCC later this year, DIT will publish their negotiation objectives, a scoping assessment on the potential long run impacts of an FTA between the UK and the GCC, and the government response to the public consultation.

A range of sectors were represented at the consultation event and feedback coalesced around a variety of key themes:

1. Transparency
2. In-Country Value programs
3.  Regional HQ initiatives
4.Recognition of Professional Qualifications
5. SMEs

The consultation closes on 14th January and is the best way for UK businesses to make their voices heard on a future trade deal with the GCC, and so we encourage you to also complete the online consultation accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/trade-with-the-gulf-cooperation-council-call-for-input

The DIT GCC negotiation team (gcc-hub@trade.gov.uk) would welcome direct contact if you have any questions or want to discuss the FTA negotiations in more detail.