Move to increase UK-Israel trade

A new UK-Israel Trade Working Group aims to strengthen trade and investment between the two countries.

Announced in February following a meeting between Prime Ministers Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu, the forum has been established not only to promote greater trade and investment, but also to prepare the ground for a post-Brexit trade agreement.

The UK is Israel’s second largest trading partner and its top destination for investment in Europe. More than 300 Israeli companies currently operate in the UK, with 28 having either set up or expanded their businesses since April 2016.

Meanwhile, over 30 British companies operate in Israel, with hundreds more represented there. Overall, bilateral trade between the UK and Israel was worth US$7.5 billion in 2015.

The Working Group’s inaugural meeting in late March 2017 saw officials start work on what the Government described as a smooth transition to the trading relationship as the UK leaves the EU.

Ahead of the meeting, Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry, Eli Cohen, said: “As the UK is Israel’s first export destination in Europe, we see high importance in keeping and enhancing our trade relations when the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union.”

The two sides should, he added, make sure that the business communities in both countries will be able to continue trading with each other by providing them with the necessary trade platforms.

Changes to rules on food imports from non-EU countries could see Israeli farmers able to sell more fresh produce in the UK, while easing restrictions on travel and work permits could make it easier for Israelis to come to the UK.


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