UK-Gulf Cooperation Council trade negotiations update

F.P. Report

LONDON: The second round of negotiations for an Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and the GCC took place between 5 and 9 December.


The second round was hosted in London and held in a hybrid fashion. More than 100 GCC officials travelled to London for in-person discussions, with others attending virtually. Technical discussions were held across 29 policy areas over 36 sessions. In total, more than 100 UK negotiators from across Government took part in this round of negotiations.


During the round, the UK set out its policy positions having exchanged draft chapter text with the GCC across most policy areas before the round. A key objective at this stage was to continue to build a firm understanding of the GCC’s policy positions and priorities. Both negotiation teams took actions to further consider each other’s positions and identify opportunities to move closer together ahead of round three.


Both sides remain committed to securing an ambitious, comprehensive and modern agreement fit for the 21st century.


An FTA will be a substantial economic opportunity, and a significant moment in the UK-GCC relationship. Government analysis shows that, in the long-run, a deal with the GCC is expected to increase trade by at least 16%, add at least £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy and contribute an additional £600 million or more to UK workers’ annual wages.


We expect the third round of negotiations to take place in Riyadh next year.


His Majesty’s Government remains clear that any deal we sign will be in the best interests of the British people and the United Kingdom economy. We will not compromise on our high environmental, public health, animal welfare and food standards, and we will maintain our right to regulate in the public interest. We are also clear that during these negotiations, the National Health Service and the services it provides is not on the table.