Britain and the Gulf

There is no doubt that Britain’s chances of reaching an agreement with the Gulf are much better than those of the European Union, which has been negotiating with the Gulf Cooperation Council for three decades without result. Euro-Gulf trade continues under a “co-operation agreement” concluded in 1988, and since 1990 several rounds of negotiations between the Union and the Council have taken place to reach a free trade agreement, but no significant progress has been made.

As for Britain, which is outside the European Union, it is free from many of the restrictions to which the European Commission is bound. Including, for example, standards and specifications, safety and insurance conditions, and even some human rights clauses and others. This makes it easier for Britain to quickly negotiate and reach a free trade agreement with the Gulf states.

It is true that the free trade agreements that Britain is targeting after Brexit, as it signed with Japan and Vietnam and is now negotiating with India and Canada, may not compensate for trade with the European Union, but it is at least equal to or greater than the decline in British-European trade. Since Britain finally left Europe early last year, albeit with a trade agreement between the two sides, the problems have not ended yet and it has negatively affected the volume of trade between the two sides. It harms Britain more than it harms Europe, as trade with Europe accounts for almost half of Britain’s foreign trade. While trade with Britain does not form a large part of European trade with foreign countries.

Among the reasons for the disputes, the London government rushed to change the laws in Britain to get rid of their consistency with European laws, for example the abolition of the requirement to use licensed medicine outside Europe for two years before it is licensed in Europe and its importation is permitted. . Or, for example, amend food and health safety laws to allow the cultivation of genetically modified plants. All this change in laws complicates British trade with the European Union, but at the same time makes it easier for Britain to reach trade agreements with the rest of the world.

The Gulf Cooperation Council is third among Britain’s trading partners, with an annual trading volume of more than forty billion dollars – the volume of trade of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with the European Union exceeds 100 billion dollars annually. Britain intends to abolish golf fees and tariffs on British goods and services, which are between four and five per cent, through a free trade agreement with the Golf Cooperation Council. Britain is also seeking to restore the advantage of the financial and business area in London to attract Golf funds, especially with the increase in revenue in the recent period with the rise in energy prices.

It is important to note that the free trade agreement currently being negotiated between Britain and the Gulf Cooperation Council does not include energy.

By getting rid of many of the constraints to which the European Union commits itself in its dealings with foreign countries, Britain is trying to move closer to China’s way of foreign economic relations. But Britain, whatever it does, will not be able to compete with China in this regard. The British will not be able to separate politics from money and business, as China does with its relations with other countries. Not only because Britain sees itself as the “runner-up” of the superpower – America – but sometimes it has surpassed the United States in foreign policy issues. Rather, the British had not yet got rid of the legacy that they were a “rich” in this region and others and that they were more “experts” in the affairs of the Middle East than others in the West.

In general, it remains that negotiations with the British will be better for the Gulf Cooperation Council, where the Gulf states can agree on terms and conditions that serve their interests more than dealing with the European Union and its constraints. Although it still has the side effect of the quality of UK goods and services that do not meet European standards and standards. But it may be better than the Chinese, who have different standards and specifications.

He does not imagine that the negotiations will be completely without challenges, especially since Britain wants a comprehensive agreement with the GCC countries. As noted in recent years, when it comes to financial and economic policies, each of the GCC states prefers to uphold its national policies in a way that serves its interests. Consequently, the GCC states prefer bilateral agreements between them and the trading partners from outside the sphere of cooperation, perhaps more than the agreements between the Council and these partners. Some of the GCC countries see a greater economic interest in implementing their Qatari procedures in terms of fees and tariffs and other trading conditions.

There is also an indirect result in favor of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the event of a speedy free trade agreement with Britain. That is, the European Commission can change its position and seek a similar agreement with the countries of the Council and compromise on European terms that have prevented agreement for three decades.

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