The United States signed a framework trade and investment agreement with the United Arab Emirates in 2004 to create a formal framework for dialogue on economic reforms and trade liberalization. TIFA encourages the creation of legal protection for investors, improved protection of intellectual property rights, more transparent and effective customs procedures, and greater transparency of government and trade rules. Through this process, the U.S. government can identify potential partners for continued trade cooperation, such as free trade agreements (FAs). The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) are a commercially important region and were the EU`s fourth largest export market in 2016. The GCC countries have formed their own customs union and are working towards an internal market. Cooperation between the EU and the GCC is ongoing on trade and investment, macroeconomic issues, climate change, energy and the environment and research. If an agreement is reached, the UK hopes it will last no more than 20 years for the EU, but reflects the 15-month free trade agreement between Singapore and the GCC. Trade relations between the EU and the UAE are already strong, but a free trade agreement would simplify procedures and reduce business costs. The EU has already concluded free trade agreements with Japan, Canada, Singapore and Mexico before Brexit, and Hogan`s visit follows talks with New Zealand and Australia. In 2017, bilateral trade between the EU and the United Arab Emirates amounted to 52 billion euros (Dh216 billion euros) and 3 billion euros of agricultural products were exported from the EU to the UAE.
In 2010, the long-delayed GCC-EU free trade agreement faced issues such as export tariffs that the Gulf States wanted to keep. Trade with the UK has more than doubled in the last decade, from $19.1 billion in 2010 to more than $50 billion, with BRITISH companies operating in the CCG markets, from finance to retailers, in the education, health, hydrocarbons and arms trade sectors. According to the government, machinery, mechanical devices and aerospace products dominate exports to the GCC. One study showed that eu trade agreements implemented during the 1993-2013 period « reduced quality-adjusted prices by almost 7%. »  The Cooperation Council of the EU and the Gulf States began negotiations for a free trade agreement in 1990. The free trade agreement provides for a gradual and reciprocal liberalisation of trade in goods and services. The negotiations faced several challenges and were virtually halted in 2008, when the GCC countries ended all ongoing negotiations in which they participated. And while discussions on the UK`s upcoming critical trade relations with its former EU trading partners still appear to be stalled, London has set eyes on securing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The United States began negotiating a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates in March 2005.