Politics

Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator celebrates three benefits of free trade deal with Israel

GMB: Trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan pulls out of interview

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The previous agreement was based on Israel’s trade deal with the European Union signed back in 1995. Post-Brexit, the two countries are now interested in a more up-to-date agreement, according to a statement by the Israeli Minister of Economy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK’s international trade secretary, and Orna Barbivai Israel’s economy minister agreed to upgrade the deal in a meeting on Wednesday.

The updated deal is expected to remove barriers to the trade of goods and services between the two advanced economies.

James Clarke, the chief negotiator for the UK-Israel free trade agreement said the project is “hugely exciting” and has the “potential to unlock significant growth” in trade and investment between the two countries.

UK and Israel negotiations have been ongoing for some time after the deal was signed in 2019 and took effect at the beginning of 2021. As part of negotiations, the UK government has launched a “Call for Input”.

Mr Clarke said it’s an opportunity for UK businesses and the public to tell the government what they want to be prioritised in trade talks with Israel, which are due to start later this year.

The UK-Israel chief negotiator set out three potential outcomes from the deal, which included changes to services, innovation and technology as well as increased investment.

Currently, the UK-Israel agreement – which was in place while the UK was still part of the European Union – has very few service provisions.

Services make up a high percentage – around 70 percent – of both countries’ total economic output. Yet it only counts for around 35 percent of bilateral trade in the current agreement.

James Clarke said this provides “huge opportunities to turbo-charge services trade” between the two countries.

As well as this, he said the UK could benefit from digital and technology trade, as well as innovation between the two advanced economies.

If a more ambitious deal is agreed upon, the FTA could tackle restrictions on investment and help boost sectors including life sciences, creative industries and electronics.

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In the meeting, held on Wednesday, between the two ministers, they also discussed the details of a British-Israel innovation summit this Spring in the UK. The summit will provide a platform for businesses from both countries to showcase shared talents.

The government is now calling on the general public to have their say in the potential UK-Israel free trade deal. Business owners and organisations can submit their responses detailing what is currently holding them back from increasing trade with Israel.

People can submit their thoughts via a Gov.uk consultation form open until March 30

To access the consultation form, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/trade-with-israel-call-for-input

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