Riyadh – The UK Foreign Affairs Ministry announced a new agreement with Saudi Arabia to allow British businesses to obtain 5-year multiple entry visas for the first time, creating opportunities for more bilateral business to be conducted.
The ministry said on its website that the new agreement was among the main results of the participation of UK Premier Theresa May in the 37th GCC Summit.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the British prime minister said: “As the UK leaves the EU, we should seize the opportunity to forge a new trade arrangement between the UK and the Gulf. This could transform the way we do business and lock in a new level of prosperity for our people for generations to come.”
The foreign ministry announced that a number of additional measures to bolster bilateral trade between the UK and the Gulf were also set to be agreed during the visit, including a new agreement with Saudi Arabia to allow British businesses to obtain 5-year multiple entry visas for the first time, and a government-hosted event at the Mansion House in London in March focused on helping the Gulf diversify its economies, bringing together ministers, the Lord Mayor, senior business representatives from the city with delegates from the Gulf.
British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis said that the Gulf was UK’s third biggest export market, following the United States and the European Union.
“We seek to develop these trade relations through a more consolidated dialogue in the field of commerce and investments,” he stated.
Collis added that issues of trade and security were the main topics of discussion between the British premier and the leaders of GCC member states.
He stressed that the security in the Gulf was closely linked to the security of the United Kingdom. He also highlighted the importance of promoting trade relations with the Gulf, especially in light of Brexit.
Collis noted that Gulf countries represented an important security partner, as they have helped the UK thwart a number of terrorist attacks.
“We continue to closely work with [Gulf States] to face security challenges represented by the extremism of [ISIS] and Iran’s behavior, which destabilizes the region,” he said.