Gulf Arab states want to secure a speedy trade deal with the UK post-Brexit

Rebecca Smith
Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain want to bolster non-oil trade
Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain want to bolster non-oil trade (Source: Getty)

​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.

Read more: The UK will get a US free trade deal – but Trump will drive a hard bargain

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.

Read more: Gulf States see great opportunities in Britain’s bright post-Brexit future

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