Iconic black cabs could soon be travelling along Israel’s streets

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Iconic black cabs could soon be travelling along Israel’s streets

Plans for upgraded Free Trade Agreement between Britain and Israel launched

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Black cabs
Black cabs

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has met Israel’s ambassador Tzipi Hotovely to launch an upgraded and enhanced trading relationship between the two countries — which could see Britain’s black taxicabs on Israeli streets and Scotch whisky flowing in Israeli bars.

The revamped Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will build on a relationship already worth £5 billion, which supports 6,600 British businesses. Those responsible for the improved FTA — one already exists, brokered in 1995 — describe Britain and Israel as “two of the world’s services superpowers”.

Among UK exporters hoping to benefit from the agreement are LEVC, which makes the globally recognisable iconic electric black cabs in Coventry, Tomatin Distillery in Scotland, and Concrete Canvas in Wales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the benefits of the new agreement were manifold. She told Jewish News: “We want to unlock new possibilities for UK businesses in one of the world’s fastest growing economies”.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Kotel

The current agreement, she said, was not fit for purpose. “Our current deal, the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, does not reflect the realities of the modern world. It is based on an agreement signed by the EU over a quarter of a century ago, before smartphones, artificial intelligence and the internet transformed our economies”.

The new deal, it is anticipated, will open up new opportunities for tech firms and professional services, with innovation at its heart. The aim is to provide a support framework for investment opportunities. Jewish News understands that there is already a med-tech relationship, based on medical diagnostics, between an Israeli hi-tech firm and Leeds University Teaching Hospital — and it’s hoped that the improved FTA will open the doors to many more such relationships.

It’s expected that the new deal, with its emphasis on the service economy, will boost UK service exports to Israel by up to £78 million, “from insurance to computer and technology services, supporting jobs and growing high-tech industries by reducing barriers to trade”.

Ms Trevelyan said: “We want a deal that will play to British strengths, while stimulating innovation and increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK. Combining the power of our economies in a revamped trade deal will boost trade, support jobs and help take our economic relationship to the next level.”

In 2020, around 325 Israeli-owned businesses operating in the UK employed more than 7,000 people across the country. Its services sector has grown by over 45 per cent in the last decade, and Israel’s total imports are expected to double by 2035.

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