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Gulf countries consortium 'seeking early free trade agreement' with Britain

Published 07/09/2016

Theresa May said she was 'pleased' to hear of the Gulf Cooperation Council's interest
Theresa May said she was 'pleased' to hear of the Gulf Cooperation Council's interest

A consortium of Gulf countries is the latest to indicate an interest in doing a trade deal with post-Brexit Britain, MPs have heard.

Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - a political and economic alliance made up of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman - are said to be seeking a free trade agreement with the UK.

During Theresa May's statement to the House of Commons on last week's G20 summit, former Conservative minister Crispin Blunt said Saudi Arabia foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir was in London and had met with MPs this morning.

"Is she as delighted as I am that he made clear to parliamentarians this morning that we can now add the GCC to the list of those parts of the world seeking an early free trade agreement," said Mr Blunt (Reigate).

Mrs May said she echoed these comments, adding: "I'm pleased that has been reiterated.

"It was an issue I discussed with the Deputy Crown Prince and I'm pleased the GCC are in that position too."

Mrs May had earlier told the House that India, Mexico and Singapore had already shown an early interest in negotiating trade deals with the UK.

Tory Tom Pursglove said every MP needs to "shout from the rooftops" for jobs and investment in the UK.

The MP for Corby, who backed Brexit, added: "My constituents' jobs are frankly not a matter of dogma."

Mrs May welcomed the remarks, adding: "What I think was very welcome was the way in which a number of countries were coming up to me through throughout the summit to say they wanted to be sitting down and talking to the UK about trade deals."

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