Gulf Arab states push for UK free trade deal after Brexit - officials | Reuters

By Tom Finn | DOHA DOHA Gulf Arab states are pressing for an early deal on free trade with Britain to secure preferential arrangements after Brexit, and could have a draft agreement ready within months, Gulf officials say.Britain cannot formally sign trade agreements while it remains a member of the European Union, but the British government has said it is keen to start preparatory work so deals can be reached quickly after it leaves.One of the first agreements could be with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, 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. Trade between Britain and the GCC totals about 30 billion pounds ($37.5 billion) annually.

Reuters March 26, 2017 22:45:05 IST
Gulf Arab states push for UK free trade deal after Brexit - officials
| Reuters

Gulf Arab states push for UK free trade deal after Brexit  officials
 Reuters

By Tom Finn
| DOHA

DOHA Gulf Arab states are pressing for an early deal on free trade with Britain to secure preferential arrangements after Brexit, and could have a draft agreement ready within months, Gulf officials say.Britain cannot formally sign trade agreements while it remains a member of the European Union, but the British government has said it is keen to start preparatory work so deals can be reached quickly after it leaves.One of the first agreements could be with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, 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. Trade between Britain and the GCC totals about 30 billion pounds ($37.5 billion) annually.

In a meeting in December with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Qatari finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi discussed a partial draft of a free trade deal, a Qatari official said, declining to be named under briefing rules.

GCC states envisage preparing a "signature-ready" deal that could be signed immediately after Brexit, the Qatari official said."A free trade agreement with the UK ... This is something we would like to encourage and support," another Gulf official said.

GCC states are trying to diversify their economies and boost non-oil trade after more than two years of low global oil prices that have hurt their finances. They export mainly oil, gas and related products to Western economies while importing a wide range of goods and services. (Editing by Andrew Bolton)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.