UK-GCC free-trade talks put on hold as Gulf rift persists

Theresa May poses with GCC leaders on December 7, 2016, during GCC summit in the Bahraini capital Manama.

:: Talks about establishing a free-trade agreement between the UK and the GCC have been put on hold as the GCC rift persists, The Guardian newspaper reported.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had plans to host the first meeting for GCC nations in London this December. This event would proclaim the UK’s strengthening trade and security with the GCC. Due to the on-going rift, the summit has been put on hold.

According to Gulf nation sources, Qatar may be suspended from the GCC if matters aren’t resolved, said the report. The situation will potentially hinder deals with very strong economies, especially post Brexit, it added.

The GCC free-trade deal would supplement for the loss of the EU trade upon departing the Union.

While talks about a free-trade deal between the GCC and the EU have been put on hold almost a decade ago, in 2016 trades between the UK and the GCC were worth £30 billion.

Although the UK could attempt to pursue free-trade deals will individual GCC states, however it appears to pose as quite the challenge when in comparison to pursing the entire council.

In the meantime, a UK-GCC trade group has already been established and the Singapore-GCC trade model is being considered, said the report.

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