Ministers announce bid for ‘higher ambition’ UK-Israel trade agreement

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Ministers announce bid for ‘higher ambition’ UK-Israel trade agreement

Ranil Jayawardena MP told the Commons bilateral ties were already worth more than £5bn, as the government starts 'scoping and probing for talks' between the 'tech superpowers'

Boris Johnson opens trading at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at the start of a four day trade visit to Israel whilst foreign secretary in 2015. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Boris Johnson opens trading at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at the start of a four day trade visit to Israel whilst foreign secretary in 2015. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Government ministers have announced a bid for a new “higher ambition” UK-Israel trade agreement after Brexit, calling the two countries “tech superpowers”.

Answering questions in the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena MP said annual bilateral trade between the UK and Israel was already at more than £5 billion, but could be more.

“As Britain has now taken back control of her trade policy, I can confirm that we are now able to start scoping and probing for talks for a new higher-ambition trade agreement with Israel,” Jayawardena said.

Ranil Jayawardena MP

“I am delighted that the UK-Israel trade and partnership agreement was one of the first agreements to be signed by the Department [for International Trade], and relations will be enhanced as we further deepen our work with Israel.”

The minister’s Conservative colleague Alexander Stafford MP suggested that the UK offer “support for expanding Israel’s commercial ties with the Gulf states” following this summer’s historic thaw with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Fellow Tory Chris Green MP said Israel was “innovating to create an instant Covid-19 test that is currently being trialled at European airports,” adding that the UK should “work with innovative Israeli companies in that area”.

Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss said: “We have already signed a continuity free trade agreement with Israel and we want to go further in a new free trade agreement in areas such as tech, digital and data.

“We are two tech superpowers, and there is huge opportunity for British and Israeli businesses to work more closely together.”

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