Kemi Badenoch jets for major trade talks with Gulf Council in major Brexit boost

Badenoch hails CPTPP trade deal

Kemi Badenoch has jetted off for a five-day tour of the Gulf today, in which she will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to push for an “ambitious and comprehensive” trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Department for Business and Trade has championed the visit, saying it will “open huge new opportunities” for businesses here in Britain, as well as pioneering green tech firms already taking advantage of the Middle East’s transition away from fossil fuels.

If successful, a trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to boost trade between the UK and the region by 16 percent, adding around £1.6billion to the UK economy.

Mrs Badenoch will meet her ministerial counterparts in each nation, as well as the Secretary General of the GCC, James Al-Budaiwi.

Inward investment by the GCC to the UK is currently worth more than £15.7billion.

Ahead of her visit, Mrs Badenoch said she is “determined” to strengthen our trading relationship even further.

“The GCC represents an enormous opportunity for UK firms, whether it’s selling brilliant British food and drink products into new markets or offering new consumers for our flourishing digital trade and renewable energy sectors.

“I know my counterparts are as ambitious for this deal as I am, and I’m ready to match their ambition.”

In 2022, total trade between the UK and the Gulf reached a record high of £61.3billion, and is now the equivalent of our seventh largest export market.

The GCC’s demand for goods and services is expected to grow to almost £1trillion by 2035, making it a major target for a post-Brexit trade deal.

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The UK only began negotiations with the bloc in 2022 but has already completed three rounds of talks.

More than half of the total exported from the UK to the Gulf are services, in which the UK is a global superpower.

Yesterday, new data suggested that the weaker pound post-Brexit has led to a services export boom for Britain.

Between 2016 – the year of the EU referendum – and 2022, Britain’s exports of services around the world grew dramatically, by 17.8 percent in real terms – the strongest growth in the G7.

In 2022, Britain beat its previous records, rising to £397billion.

One of the innovators hoping for a trade deal between the UK and the Gulf is Levidian Nanosystems – a graphene manufacturer – who say the region is incredibly important to them.

CEO John Hartley said: “The GCC is an important region for Levidian – the combination of large-scale gas assets which require decarbonisation, heavy industry which can benefit from graphene application, and a political will to decarbonise at pace make it an area in which Levidian can have significant impact.”

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