Number 10 said the two countries had agreed on an „industrial defence partnership“ that would aim to „cooperate closely“ with the „Typhoon-Jet“. Both the United Kingdom and the GCC need each other. The UK is trying to replace the post-Brexit trade losses with expansion into other markets, and gcc countries want to secure continued military and diplomatic support from the UK. Their security and diplomatic cooperation are also essential to safeguard the interests of both sides throughout the Middle East. On 31 January, the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union and will regain its status as an „independent“ trading partner. In 2019, the country stepped up its efforts to sign trading partners and was able to conclude 20 bilateral „continuity agreements“ for 50 countries or territories. While many parts of the world are covered, nations that are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, are a notable exception. Britain and the United Arab Emirates have announced a joint defence partnership after David Cameron`s two-day visit to the country. The potential cost of the UK`s economic performance and influence leaving the European Union has made Britain`s relationship with the Gulf countries even more important. The UK`s trade volume with the GCC was $44.5 billion in 2016, a jump of $19.1 billion in 2010.
Britain has conducted a diplomatic campaign in which it stresses the importance of the GCC for British foreign trade. London has already approached the GCC countries to reach a free trade agreement, but an agreement has not yet been reached. According to the UAE`s Economy Minister, it may be years before such an agreement is reached. Before the announcement, Cameron told the BBC he would „absolutely not apologise“ for discussing „defence partnerships“ with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The agreement will improve military coordination between the two nations and will pursue an already robust military, political and economic partnership at a critical time. During the meetings, representatives of the United Arab Emirates stressed their desire to strengthen cooperation with the United Kingdom in various areas, including trade, cultural exchanges, the fight against illegal financing and serious crime, and defence. In the past, the United Kingdom has been an important partner and ally of the GCC countries in the economic, diplomatic and defence fields. What impact will Brexit have on relations between Britain and the GCC? Will Britain`s new status have an impact on its foreign policy and defence and security cooperation with the GCC countries? Will Brexit suffer from trade and reciprocal investment? The DCA will encourage this interest by fostering closer defence and security cooperation and by supporting the efforts of both nations to maintain security in the Gulf region. Despite the absence of bilateral agreements between the UK and the Gulf countries, the impact of Brexit on their relations is expected to be minimal.
In some areas, this could be an opportunity to strengthen already close cooperation. London is aware that competition for GCC influence and markets will be fierce with the US, China, Russia and its former EU partners. However, its long history and expertise in the Middle East will no doubt help it play a vital role in the region. Commenting on the meeting, Gargash stated: „Today`s 19th UAE-UK Taskforce meeting provided a forum to address a number of issues central to the during ingduring partnership shared by the UAE and UK. Our two countries remain firmly committed to pursuing prospects for cooperation in key sectors for the benefit of our peoples, and we are optimistic about the results of our fruitful discussions on issues of common importance. Military and diplomatic cooperation between the British army and the region dates back 200 years. Between 199