Gulf Arab states are pushing for an early deal on free trade with Britain in the wake of Brexit.
Gulf officials say a draft agreement could be ready within months. While Britain cannot formally sign any trade agreements as a member of the European Union, the government has said it wants to get preparatory work underway to secure deals quickly once Britain leaves the EU.
Theresa May will kick off Brexit negotiations once she triggers Article 50 on Wednesday.
And one of Britain's first agreements could be with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), spanning Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.
Trade between Britain and the council comes to £30bn each year. Not only is the GCC the UK’s largest foreign investor, it is also its second biggest non-European export market.
GCC states mainly export oil, gas and related products to Western economies while importing a wide range of goods and services.
According to Reuters, a Qatari official said GCC are hoping for a “signature-ready” deal that could be signed immediately after Brexit.
The states are keen to diversify their economies and ramp up non-oil trade after over two years of low global oil prices, which have weighed on their finances.