The Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday that bilateral trade relations between the United Kingdom and Israel have reached a record high. Figures released by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reveal that trade has increased by 28% between the period of January and August of this year, as compared to the same time frame in 2013.
Notably, the increase in Israeli exports to the UK between January and August managed to surpass the overall trade balance and reach a lofty 38%, with a value of £1.6 billion ($2.0 billion). UK exports to Israel are currently valued at £957 million ($1.2 billion).
Currently, bilateral trade between the UK and Israel is valued at £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion); the UK is Israel’s largest export market behind the US.
In a further sign of increasing economic relations, there were “37 mergers, acquisitions and IPOs (sale of company stock by a private company to the public) involving either British and Israeli companies or an Israeli firm being floated in the UK” between January and September of 2014.
Nathan Tsror, the economic attaché at the Israeli embassy in London, welcomed the news and affirmed, “once again, the latest trade figures underline the strong business ties that exist between Israel and the UK. This relationship brings great benefit to both countries and as such is of great value.”
Hugo Bieber, chief executive at UK Israel Business- an organization dedicated to promoting UK-Israel trade relations- shared his excitement at the figures and noted, “we have seen successful IPOs of Israeli businesses on the London Stock Exchange this year and we see a strong pipeline of further businesses looking to list in London.”
The news comes on the heels of an intense BDS initiative by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to dampen trade relations between Israel and the U.K., an effort which intensified during Operation Protective Edge.
Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, remarked:
This is a wonderful piece of news that shows that attempts by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement to discredit Israel are failing. We are all better off – particularly Israelis and Palestinians – when there is strong trade between the UK and Israel, because it leads to tremendous economic growth, innovation and, most crucially, more jobs for all.
The Israel embassy in London is planning to run a number of events this month designed to boost ties between British and Israeli firms, particularly in the sectors of “security, water energy and medical technology.”
Earlier this month, international credit rating agency Moody’s reported that Israel’s investment grade remains at an A1 sovereign rating, and that the country’s economy maintains a stable outlook, despite this summer conflict with Hamas.
[Photo: Flicker / Vesselin Kolev]