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Trade With Israel Policy Update

Volume 708: debated on Wednesday 2 February 2022

The call for input on a future trade agreement with Israel has launched today.

The UK is committed to our trade and investment relationship with Israel, one of the Middle East’s most dynamic and innovative economies and the world’s 30th largest economy in 2020. [1] This deal aims to secure more access for British goods and services, opening significant new opportunities for UK business which could boost trade with Israel, worth £4.8 billion in 2020. It aims to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation, and digital and services trade.

The UK signed a trade continuity agreement with Israel in February 2019 which replicated the scope of the EU-Israel agreement. The UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement includes provisions on tariff liberalisation, customs and trade facilitation and public procurement but does not include many key areas of a comprehensive FTA such as services, data, or intellectual property, which we hope to include in the new agreement.

The call for input will provide businesses, individuals, and other interested stakeholders with the opportunity to give valuable feedback and highlight their priorities for our future trading relationship with Israel.

The feedback received from stakeholders will be crucial when shaping our mandate, and will inform detailed negotiations preparation, and policy positions. The Department for International Trade is committed to ensuring future FTAs and their provisions are good for British businesses and the British economy.

The UK aims to begin negotiations for an upgraded trade deal with Israel this year, focused on creating even greater opportunities for UK businesses. These new negotiations would allow us to go further to boost trade with Israel, whose demand for global imports is forecast to grow almost twice as fast as the global average between 2019 and 2030.[2] There is significant scope to expand our trade in services, including digital services—which grew a remarkable 73% between 2010 and 2020. This would complement our services-based economies and cement the United Kingdom as an international services hub.

Following the consultation, the UK and Israel share a desire to launch negotiations during 2022. The call for input will seek to support the goal of greater economic prosperity for businesses and will ensure that their needs are heard. The Government are committed to transparency and will ensure that Parliament, the devolved Administrations, UK citizens and businesses are kept regularly updated on negotiations.

[1] IMF World Economic Outlook, October 2021, 2020 data.

[2] Source GTO September 2021.