LONDON: The UK considers strengthening trade relations with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as one of its priorities after Brexit, a Conservative MP has said.
The British government will “make strengthening relations with the Gulf,” especially Saudi Arabia, one of its priorities, as the Kingdom is a “key partner of the UK on various issues,” former Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox told Asharq News.
Fox added that the GCC represents “a big market for the UK, and we have a huge amount of investments coming into the UK from Gulf countries, so the relationship is very strong in terms of trade and investment.”
Britain left the EU politically a year ago, and quit the bloc’s single market and customs union at the end of 2020.
The UK has argued that the principle benefit of leaving the EU is the freedom to strike trade deals around the world.
Fox told the news service that Brexit has made access to trade agreements with GCC countries “more flexible compared to a bloc that brings together 27 countries in the European Union, where each member can reject any trade agreement.”
The MP added that the UK is one of the five largest economies in the world and has one of the largest military budgets. The country therefore has “the strength and flexibility now to act in our national interests.”
Fox said that Britain and GCC countries could cooperate “in forming partnerships to use the region as a gateway for exporting goods and services to the European continent and Central Asia, in addition to cooperating in the fields of health sciences, financial and legal services, and the services sector in general.”
“The UK has a tremendous capacity to export legal and financial services and work with partners in the GCC to improve and design these products to suit the regional market,” Fox said.