UK Mulls Cutting Food Tariffs in Trade Talks With GCC

Published June 22nd, 2022 - 10:22 GMT
UK Mulls Cutting Food Tariffs in Trade Talks With GCC
(Source: Shutterstock)

UK will launch talks over a new free trade deal with six Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar on Wednesday, seeking to slash tariffs on food exports to these countries.

The British trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan will start the discussions in Riyadh, the Department for International Trade announced late Tuesday in a statement.

"I'm excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than 10,000 SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) already exporting to the region," Trevelyan said in a statement.

The trade talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which will also includes Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, might "significantly reduce or remove tariffs" on UK food and drink exports to the region, worth $767 million last year, according to the Department for International Trade's statement. The deal could include slashing tariffs on products such as cereals, chocolate, baking products, biscuits and smoked salmon.

The GCC is the UK’s seventh largest export market, and this deal has the potential of adding at least £1.6 billion a year to the British economy, according to the trade department.

"This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf," Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in the statement.

It's worth noting that this is the fourth set of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks that UK has launched this year after India, Canada and Mexico and it already has agreed pacts with New Zealand and Australia, as London looks to replace continuity deals it struck before it left the European Union's trading orbit with fresh post-Brexit agreements.

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