International trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan is looking for an improved trade deal with Israel this week as she meets her Israeli counterpart Orna Barbivai during a three-day visit to the country.
Trevelyan is looking to encourage greater collaboration between UK and Israeli tech industries, with an innovation summit planned for this spring.
She met key Israeli investors in the UK, hosted a reception of leading technology businesses and visited Tel Aviv’s new light rail metro project to identify opportunities for UK firms.
Trevelyan also visited the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to discuss UK and Israeli agri-tech expertise, and Ramallah to see the UK-Palestinian Tech Hub to strengthen links between UK and Palestinian tech enterprises, reports Bdaily.
The visit comes as the government launches an eight-week consultation to seek the views of business and the public, ahead of trade negotiations starting later this year.
The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the exercise, with trade policy head William Bain saying: “A bespoke free trade negotiation between the UK and Israel could allow for additional market access for tourism, professional and financial services as well as clearer rules to open up digital trade between the two.”
Reuters reports that Britain is looking to build post-Brexit trade ties targeting fast-growing economies with wealthy middle classes, betting there will be demand for its premium exports and professional services.
“Unlike in the past, we can now work with friends and allies like Israel to strike deals that are truly tailored to our strengths in areas like digital trade, services and life sciences,” Trevelyan said.
The UK is targeting opportunities in areas like education, healthcare, and food and drink exports. It also hopes to create lower tariffs and better market access in a country that has a high regard for British products and expertise.
According to government figures, total trade in goods and services between the UK and Israel was £4.7bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2021, a decrease of 4.7% or £231 million from 2020.
Israel is the UK’s 42nd largest trade partner and 33rd largest export market.
Jewish News reports that Trevelyan will confirm plans for the UK to host a one-day UK-Israel Innovation Summit this spring.
The UK and Israeli prime ministers will attend alongside entrepreneurs, investors and leading businesses attend, showcasing world-leading British and Israeli companies and galvanising greater collaboration in sectors such as AI, cyber security and life sciences.