Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai met on Wednesday in Jerusalem with British Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is in Israel for a three-day visit for the first time after entering office in June.
Trevelyan is entrusted with implementing the UK’s trade policy and negotiating all its trade agreements.
In the meeting, Barbivai highlighted her ministry’s initiative to increase mutual trade between the UK and Israel by creating joint business platforms for business entities in the two countries.
Trevelyan discussed the possibility of promoting an upgrade of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Israel and the United Kingdom, which was signed in 2019 and entered into force a year ago when Britain left the European Union in the Brexit.
Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration explained that since the existing agreement with Britain is based on Israel’s old trade agreement with the European Union signed in 1995, the two countries share the need for a more up-to-date and modern agreement. However, the establishment of a new FTA may involve a complex process that will take more than six months.
In addition, the two ministers discussed the details of the UK-Israel Innovation Summit, a joint initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and the British International Trade Office, to be held in spring 2022, hosted by the UK government and attended by senior officials, government officials, and business companies.
Following their meeting, the first meeting of the UK-Israel Joint Committee, established under the Trade and Partnership Agreement, took place. The discussions focused on various issues related to the implementation of the agreement and the production of the maximum commercial and economic potential from it.
Barbivai stated that the UK is “not only a true friend of the State of Israel but also Israel’s third-largest trading partner in goods and services. The existing cooperation between the economies of the United Kingdom and Israel is a good basis for deepening and expanding trade relations and economic relations between the two countries.”
“We will work in the coming months to lower trade barriers in exports and imports to ensure the realization of economic and commercial potential,” she stated.
Trevelyan pointed out that “a new trade agreement with Israel is a huge opportunity to liberalise trade with a key partner for British business and deepen ties with a fellow democracy and a tech superpower that has shared ambitions in technology, digital, and innovation.”
“Our services trade has grown by 73% over the last decade, and both sides now want to build on that success with a stronger partnership that keeps us at the forefront of the technological revolution and creates well-paid and high-value jobs,” she said.
The Foreign Trade Administration noted that the UK is Israel’s third-largest trading partner in goods and services. The Administration operates an office in London, which is a global economic center and a global headquarters of multinational companies and financial institutions that are at the forefront of technology.
The UK is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe in terms of exports, and the third in the world in terms of exports and imports. In 2021, the volume of mutual trade in goods and services between the countries is estimated at about $7.7 billion.