The Arabian Peninsula may turn out to be a significant export marketplace for British farmers as commerce talks between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council get underway.
The UK authorities launched its free commerce settlement (FTA) negotiations with the GCC – a bunch consisting of six rich nations – on Wednesday (22 June).
Made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the area is dwelling to greater than 57 million folks and imports round 90% of the meals it consumes.
Because the world’s largest oil and fuel producing area, the GCC enjoys the very best way of life within the Center East.
Based on the NFU, the enlargement of tourism within the area creates a significant alternative for British meals, significantly within the meals service and hospitality sector.
For instance, Dubai alone attracts greater than 16 million vacationers a yr, occupying some 70,000 resort rooms.
Responding to the commerce talks, NFU President Minette Batters mentioned farmers would welcome elevated market entry and enhanced phrases of commerce with the GCC.
“The area is already effectively served with British agri-food exports, capitalising on sturdy recognition of British product out there with our exports identified for his or her security, high quality and excessive requirements,” she mentioned.
“Specifically, we proceed to see appreciable development in dairy and purple meat exports to the area, and with an increasing inhabitants with elevated disposable earnings and the enlargement of tourism, there’s alternative to develop UK agri-food exports into the area additional.”
Tariffs on UK agri-food merchandise to the area are already set comparatively low, at 5% for frozen meat, dairy and processed merchandise or 0% for recent meat and a few fruit and veg, however negotiators may search to take away tariffs the place they exist.
Merchandise from the UK are already extremely wanted for his or her high quality and heritage, with lamb exports rising by 652% to the area between 2018 and 2019.
There’s a sturdy custom of consuming sheep meat within the area with demand persevering with to develop. Presently, the primary provider is Australia adopted by New Zealand.
The GCC international locations are additionally enormous importers of dairy, with the UAE being an vital market importing 2,400 tonnes of cheese in 2018.
Though volumes are presently comparatively modest, the NFU mentioned there’s a vital potential to develop exports, particularly if the GCC had been to take away the 5% tariff presently utilized to dairy merchandise coming into from the UK.
Whereas tariffs on agri-food merchandise coming into the GCC market are comparatively low, the union mentioned it desires to see them eradicated altogether.
NFU chief worldwide commerce adviser Gail Soutar mentioned the deal appears ‘overwhelmingly constructive’ for UK exporters, with meat and dairy significantly set to profit.
“It’s the world’s largest oil and gas-producing area, with a excessive way of life and plenty of customers with fairly giant disposable incomes,” she mentioned.
“They’re ready to pay premium costs for high quality merchandise and in many of the sectors British is seen as being top quality.”