Free trade negotiations continue between the UK and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

This was highlighted by Industry and Commerce Minister Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro during a luncheon hosted by the Bahrain-British Business Forum at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa yesterday.

In his keynote speech, the minister said the FTA will open broader areas of economic relations to support access to a rapidly-growing market, abundant natural resources, investment opportunities, and the provision of more qualitative opportunities.

He stressed the depth of historical relations between Bahrain and the UK, reflected in the rapid growth of trade between the two countries in various sectors, in addition to the co-operation agreements and MoUs signed to enhance trade relations and increase the volume of mutual investments. The GCC was equivalent to the UK’s seventh largest export market and total trade was worth around $75.03 billion in 2022.

UK government analysis shows that, in the long run, a deal with the GCC is expected to increase trade by at least 16 per cent.

Business analysts believe a UK-GCC FTA would be a good opportunity for businesses to export goods and services, particularly in the agrifood, green tech, renewable goods and financial services sectors.

Also present at the luncheon were UK’s Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade Lord Dominic Johnson, British Ambassador-designate Alistair Long, forum chairman Khalid Al Zayani as well as members and guests.

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