Diplomacy

Israel Finalizes Trade Deal with UK, Assuring Businesses Favorable Terms Post-Brexit

Britain secured a deal with Israel on Monday which will allow British businesses and consumers to continue with favorable trading terms after Brexit, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, Dr. Liam Fox MP, signed the continuation agreement in Tel Aviv alongside Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Eli Cohen.

The signing finalizes the agreement, which was agreed to in principle last month in Davos.

The agreement simplifies trade and allows businesses to continue trading freely without any additional tariffs or barriers. It replicates the existing EU-Israel trading relationship, as reflected by the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The deal signed on Monday will protect trade worth £4 billion ($5.2 billion) between the two countries, according to the Department for International Trade. In a statement, the department noted that the agreement “allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs.”

The statement also said that the agreement could mean “the British vehicles sector could avoid up to £9 million ($11.8 million) a year in tariff charges on their exports that would apply if the agreement wasn’t in place, while machinery and mechanical appliance exporters could avoid up to £5 million ($6.5 million) a year.”

Dr. Fox described the relationship between Britain and Israel as “stronger than it has ever been, with record levels of bilateral cooperation in trade and investment between our two nations (…) We look forward to further strengthening an ambitious trade and investment relationship with Israel as we work closer together in the future.”

Cohen said the agreement “represents a very positive signal to the business sector,” adding that “it will be the business people who create the relationship between our countries. We invite more companies here to Israel, and Israeli companies to Britain.”

The news has also been welcomed by business groups, including the Israel-Britain Chamber of Commerce, with Anita Leviant, the organization’s president, describing how “bilateral Trade between the UK and Israel has been booming during the last several years and the UK is Israel’s second largest trade partner, with over 300 Israeli companies choosing to set up their businesses in the UK.”

The trade volume between the two countries surged by 75 percent in the first half of 2018. Israeli exports totaled $3.45 billion between January and June 2018, up from $1.97 billion in the first half of 2017, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported last September.

From June 2016 to May 2017, 32 new Israeli companies entered the British market. They invested $199 million and created 888 new jobs. This was an increase on the previous year, where 25 Israeli companies entered Britain with an investment of $149 million and created 787 jobs.

The agreement will come into effect as soon as the implementation period ends in January 2021 or on 29 March 2019 if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

[Photo: David Quarrey / Twitter ]