Bahrain Tells, UK, Gulf may sign post-Brexit trade deal this year

Future Enterprises agrees to sell stake in insurance JV to Generali

The UK kicked off the process in October, with the Gulf becoming its latest post-Brexit trade target as it seeks to deepen economic ties beyond the European Union. British trade with the GCC was worth about 45 billion pounds ($61 billion) in 2019, 7 percent of the size of Britain’s commerce with the EU in the same year. The EU and the GCC don’t have a free trade agreement in place, despite having been in talks for over 15 years.

A trade deal between the U.K. also a six country bloc of Gulf oil makers including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could be closed before the end of this current year. Negotiations between with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the U.K. have started and “we’re hopeful we could get something done by the end of this year or the middle of next year,” said Zayed Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for Bahrain. The GCC, as the bloc which additionally includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar is known, is aiming on a comprehensive deal that could help boost trade with the UK, Al Zayani said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Bahrain is also aiming to boost the contribution of tourism to Bahrain’s economy to 11.4 percent of economic output by 2026, up from about 7 percent, while boosting visitor numbers to 14.1 million a year, Al Zayani said.

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