GCC-UK strategic partnership to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Middle East
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GCC-UK strategic partnership to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Middle East

GCC-UK strategic partnership to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Middle East

The GCC and UK already cooperate in many areas including security, foreign policy, trade and investment

A “strategic partnership” agreed upon between the GCC states and the UK will be critical to generating jobs and business opportunities as well as supporting peace, security and stability in the Middle East, officials have said.

The statement was issued after foreign ministers from the Gulf states and the GCC secretary general met with British foreign secretary Liz Truss in Chevening, England on Monday.

During the meeting, the foreign ministers committed to developing the partnership in emerging areas such as clean technology, digital infrastructure and cyber. They agreed to establish strong collaborations to build potential joint investment projects as a first step.

The foreign ministers also welcomed the five-year strategy and enlarged remit of British Investment International (BII), the UK’s development finance institution. BII will play a central role in the UK government’s offer to help develop emerging countries meet their significant financing needs for infrastructure and enterprise.

The ministers expressed their support for Qatar’s fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in January 2022.

Security, foreign policy, trade and investment are areas where both the GCC and the UK are already working together, the statement added.

Currently cooperating on defence issues, the regions aim to further build on existing links between their respective armed forces. In addition, the GCC member states and the UK reiterated their commitment to address threats and safeguard security in the region through joint exercises.

The UK recognised the commitment to climate change displayed by GCC member states and welcomed their contribution at COP26, including the announcements to reach net-zero. It also commended Saudi Arabia on the launch of the Middle East Green Initiative and the GCC countries’ commitment to open and transparent collaboration in its implementation.

The foreign secretary also congratulated the UAE on winning the right to host COP28.

Earlier this year, the UK kicked off the process to sign a trade deal with the GCC, its latest post-Brexit target as it seeks deeper economic ties beyond the European Union.

Negotiations for a pact between Britain and the GCC aim to start in 2022 following a 14-week consultation with the public and businesses, the UK’s Department for International Trade said at the time.

Read: UK starts trade deal process with Saudi Arabia, Gulf

British trade with the GCC was worth about GBP45bn ($61bn) in 2019, 7 per cent of the size of Britain’s commerce with the EU in the same year.

Also read: Qatar to invest billions in UK green technology site

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