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Gulf Cooperation Council ministers to meet

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Gulf Cooperation Council ministers to meet

Gulf cooperation council
Photo: Assad Hani/Reuters

The 61st Meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Trade Ministers will be held today in Bahrain.

Ministerial meetings of the GCC—a loosely integrated bloc of Gulf monarchies whose security and economic interests tend to align—serve as forums for discussion and coordination of inter-state action. The GCC trade ministers are likely to discuss two potential European trade deals at today’s meeting: one with the United Kingdom and one with the European Union.

The UK deal, which the British government has already opened consultations on, is a new initiative, unlike the EU deal. Stalled since 2008, negotiations on that deal were tentatively reopened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly earlier this year. GCC countries have significant investments in both the UK and the EU.

The UK is much likelier to be eager for a bilateral trade deal than the EU. The British government has a strong relationship, both militarily and economically, with the bloc and will look to deepen that relationship further. British citizens’ concerns about the GCC’s human rights records will likely be overruled in the name of removing barriers to Gulf investments in Britain and increasing British arms sales to the bloc.

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