A new £5 billion advanced free trade agreement is set to be agreed with Israel in another post-Brexit win for the UK. Talks between London and Jerusalem trade officials are taking place as international trade secretary Liz Truss held a bilateral meeting with Israeli economy minister Orna Barbivai. Ahead of a deal being signed, Truss led a trade delegation that included Lord Austin of Dudley, the prime minister’s trade envoy, to Israel back in July.
Truss led a series of branding and promotion events that involved a Royal Navy ship showing the “power and strength” of a “global Brexit Britain”. The minister said a trade deal would give the UK tech, digital and data sectors a significant boost with the Middle East country having a highly developed service-led economy.
“Together we will work to remove barriers to trade between the countries,” said Truss. “And we will work to promote an advanced free trade agreement that supports jobs and drives growth.” Having signed a continuity FTA with Israel earlier this year, Truss said that the UK wants “to go further in a new free trade agreement in areas including tech, digital and data.” Jerusalem meanwhile has expressed a strong preference for an e-commerce lead in a future deal following the election of new prime minister Naftali Bennett. Barbibai said Truss was an “impressive woman”, adding she “has a very positive attitude towards the State of Israel, sees it as a global innovation centre and fully understands the importance of economic and commercial relations between the two countries.”
Israel has a population of 9.3 million, but it is one of the Middle East’s biggest economies. According to government figures, trade between the two countries was worth £4.9bn in 2020, making it the UK’s 41st largest trading partner. UK exports to Israel were worth £2.9bn in 2020, including power generators, pharmaceuticals, cars, mineral products and clothing.
Ohad Cohen, director of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labour, added: “The United Kingdom is a very important trade partner for Israel – and the largest in Europe. We are pleased to see that despite Brexit, most trade between the two countries is taking place smoothly.”