Israel and UK sign trade agreement ahead of Brexit

February 20, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen and UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Liam Fox have signed a trade agreement between Israel and Britain.

Pic: Jorge Novominsky/GPO

The arrangement regulates the continuity of trade relations between the two countries, ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU), otherwise known as Brexit.

UK’s Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey and the Head of Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry Ohad Cohen were also present at the signing ceremony.

“Minister Fox’s arrival to the signing ceremony attests to the importance of business relations between the two countries and to London’s satisfaction with the tightening of trade relations,” Israel’s Ministry of Economy said in a statement.

The volume of trade between Israel and Britain, Israel’s largest trade partner in Europe and the third largest in the world, stood at about $ 11 billion in 2018, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2017.

Fox stated that “Britain and Israel’s relations are stronger than ever, with record trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.”

The agreement “will enable British and Israeli businesses, exporters and consumers to continue to trade freely and with full confidence, while Britain prepares to leave the EU. We look forward to further strengthening the trade and investment relations between the two countries while continuing to work together in the future,” he added.

Israeli Minister of Economy Cohen added that “Britain is one of Israel’s largest and most important trading partners. The fact that Israel is one of the first countries to reach an agreement on a trade continuity agreement with the UK for the day after the Brexit demonstrates the mutual importance that the countries attach to the economic ties between them.”

He noted that the agreement will “ensure that trade between the two sides will continue to exist on the same terms as it does today and that growth in trade and mutual investment, as recorded in recent years, will continue even after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.”

The agreement between Israel and the UK is based on the existing contractual framework between Israel and the EU and aims to preserve the continuity of certainty for exporters on both sides, and to ensure that the trade between the parties continues under the same conditions as it currently exists under the agreement with the EU.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with Fox following the signing of the trade and partnership agreement, congratulated him on the signing and said that Israel “views it with great importance.”

Netanyahu added that Great Britain “is an important friend of Israel” and noted that “the agreement reflects that.” He said that it “was good for both parties.”

Netanyahu also emphasized the importance of increasing pressure on Iran and cooperating with the sanctions imposed by the US with the “goal of bringing about a change in Iran’s aggression.”

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