The British government is strongly committed to elevating our relations with all our partners across the Gulf. We have ambitious plans to expand our existing co-operation with the Gulf States across the board: in culture, education, defence and security, trade and investment, and foreign policy co-operation.
We aim to re-energise the relationship, focusing on culture, business and defence relations. But we intend to make our relations with all of the Gulf states a priority, not any one above the others.
Relations with the Gulf States are of huge significance to the UK. Over 160,000 British nationals live and work the Gulf, and we export around £15 billion worth of goods and services to the Gulf, which is on a par with China and India combined. But this is a two-way street: investment from the Gulf in the UK economy totalled around $2.25 billion last year.
We have already seen very positive progress on our relations with the UAE. Following the Prime Minister’s visit to Abu Dhabi, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt met HE Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in London. The two Ministers agreed to work closely together to agree concrete proposals for broader and deeper cooperation, building on the existing close bonds between our people and our businesses.
The Foreign Secretary is personally committed to stronger engagement with the Gulf as part of his efforts to promote closer relationships between Britain and the major emerging global markets. He has already met his counterparts from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman and the coming months will see a range of high-level meetings both in the region and the UK.
The Prime Minister strongly supports this agenda and has already visited the region. Her Majesty the Queen will pay a state visit to the UAE and Oman in the autumn, which will form a key part of the UK’s ongoing efforts to forge strong links in the region.
Read more about our relations with the Gulf states on our British Embassy websites:
We want the UK to be the Gulf’s commercial ‘partner of choice.’ British business and expertise has much to offer the region.
The UK has significant educational links with the region, with approximately 20,000 Saudi students in UK, and over 8,000 Qatari students studying in the UK each year.