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Trade: Persian Gulf Countries

Volume 709: debated on Thursday 3 March 2022

The Gulf is an important trading region for the United Kingdom, with an overall trade relationship worth £32.4 billion in 2020. The countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council are among our largest trade partners globally. Having just completed a public consultation, we aim to start negotiations on a free trade agreement with the GCC later in 2022. Work continues bilaterally with countries in the region. In fact, having just returned from a visit to the United Arab Emirates, I can tell my hon. Friend that I have seen at first hand that the opportunities for UK trade in the Gulf are enormous.

Can my hon. Friend the Minister set out some of the potential benefits for the UK, and especially for Rother Valley, of a trade deal with the Gulf Co-operation Council, particularly around jobs and investment?

I can reassure my hon. Friend that the Gulf represents a massive opportunity for many goods, from education and defence to vehicles, food and agriculture. It is an open market where people want to buy British, where we are a trusted partner and where we are regarded as a seller of high-quality goods. I can reassure him that in food and drink alone, the demand for top-quality British produce is already more than £600 million a year.