Overseas Trade: Gulf States

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Craig Whittaker Craig Whittaker Conservative, Calder Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions his Department has had with the Governments of Bahrain and Kuwait on future investment and trade deals; and what assessment he has made of opportunities available to UK businesses in those countries.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

Bahrain and Kuwait are important trading partners and there are significant opportunities for UK businesses in both countries. We have been liaising closely with their Governments on strengthening our investment and trade links and we have been supporting new business opportunities in the region in order to promote British exports.

Both Bahrain and Kuwait are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a Customs Union, so are not able to enter into bilateral trade deals. The GCC is one of the UK’s biggest export markets outside of the EU, and there could be significant opportunities in a stronger trading arrangement with all GCC countries. At the GCC Leaders’ Summit in December, in Manama, the Prime Minister announced the creation of the UK-GCC Trade and Investment Working Group to examine how we can unblock remaining barriers to trade and take steps to further liberalise our economies for the benefit of our mutual prosperity.

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