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  • Driving commercial and political engagement between Asia, the Middle East and Europe


    Simon Penney, UK Trade Commissioner to the Middle East

    The UK government wants free trade agreements (FTAs) to account for 80 per cent of its trade by 2022, and has its sights on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a key market to help realise this ambition.

    The GCC is the UK’s tenth largest trading partner, with GCC bilateral trade reaching £41.4 billion in 2019. A comprehensive free trade agreement with the bloc, comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, could represent a major milestone in the UK’s post-Brexit global trade agenda, as well as unlock commercial opportunities for businesses on both sides across a range of sectors including financial services, food and drink, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and life sciences.

    Read the Asia House Research briefing on the prospects of a UK-GCC FTA.

    The COVID-19 pandemic saw UK-GCC trade fall to £30 billion in 2020, galvanising the resolve of government officials on both sides to start formal negotiations this year and secure a deal to revitalise bilateral trade.

    To discuss the UK’s progress towards a UK-GCC FTA, Asia House will welcome the UK’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, for an exclusive briefing with Asia House Corporate Members on 10 May. Penney will also share his thoughts on the wider trade trends in the Gulf during the off-the-record briefing, convened as part of the Asia House Middle East Programme.

    Simon Penney was appointed as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HTMC) for the Middle East in May 2018. In January 2021 he was also appointed as Her Majesty’s Consul General (HMCG) to Dubai.

    His previous roles in the Middle East include Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at First Gulf Bank and Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and Africa, with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Penney has also worked for ABN AMRO Bank in South Africa and the UK, in consulting at PwC, and in project finance within the construction industry.

    This event is being convened for Asia House Corporate Members. Find out more about the benefits of Corporate Membership at Asia House.

    To register interest in attending, please contact Edward Danks, Programme Associate: edward.danks@asiahouse.co.uk

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    • Event Details
    • Date
      10 May 2022
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