It is thought a raft of deals could be poised to be in place as soon as the UK exits the bloc
While Britain cannot formally sign any trade agreements while still part of the European Union, it is thought a raft of deals could be poised to be in place as soon as the UK exits the bloc.
Gulf Arab states have expressed a firm wish to secure deals with the UK, ensuring they get preferential arrangements with post-Brexit Britain.
Gulf officials have said these could be drawn up within a matter of months and ready to be signed once the UK is free from Brussels’ red tape.
And the British Government is keen to get preparations underway so the deals can be swiftly concluded.
UK Trade Prospects after Brexit Thu, February 16, 2017
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One of the first which could be wrapped up is with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Qatar and the two biggest Arab economies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, according to the officials.
Currently, trade between the UK and the GCC is around £30 billion a year.
A Qatari official envisaged preparing a "signature-ready" deal which could be signed immediately after Brexit.
Another Gulf official said: “A free trade agreement with the UK . . . This is something we would like to encourage and support.”
GCC states are trying to diversify their economies away from oil
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GCC states are trying to diversify their economies away from oil and boost other goods and services following two years of low global oil prices which have hit their economies hard.
The majority of the Gulf states mainly export oil, gas and related goods to Western nations, while importing a raft of other goods and services.
A Qatari official envisaged preparing a "signature-ready" deal
Even after Brexit there will be opportunities
Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani
And the Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf Arab state's acquisitive sovereign wealth fund, has also indicated it too would be willing to trade and invest with the UK post-Brexit.
CEO, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani, said: “I am still looking, even after Brexit there will be opportunities QIA can really hunt for."
He told a conference in London the sectors they would be focussing on are infrastructure, healthcare and IT.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani is looking to invest post-Brexit
The UK has been putting out feelers for potential trade partners post-Brexit, with Commonwealth countries rumoured to be among the preferential nations to strike a deal with.
The Commonwealth’s secretary-general, Baroness Patricia Scotland, has said opportunities with the global partnership has the potential for a trade “diamond” and should be capitalised on.