In International Trade Questions today in the House of Commons, Minister Mark Garnier MP hailed the UK’s “strong and important” trading relationship with Israel, announcing that the Government is in discussions to strengthen the UK-Israel relationship post-Brexit.
The International Trade Minister highlighted the “growing relationship” between the UK and Israel, particularly in cyber security which “saw a 24% growth in exports last year”. He pointed to the UK Israel Tech Hub, which was launched by the British Embassy in Israel and is the first of its kind to promote partnerships in technology and innovation between the two countries.
The Minister announced trade figures of nearly £6 billion in bilateral trade in 2015, with over 300 Israeli companies now established in the UK.
Mr Garnier said: “The UK is the number one destination for Israeli foreign direct investment in Europe… I recently visited Israel to discuss investment and trade, and we will continue discussions on strengthening our important trade relationship”.
He referred to a recent visit to a tech accelerator hub in Tel Aviv sponsored by Barclays, stating that it was “very encouraging to see that private sector relationship, which is something we will continue to encourage”.
The Minister’s comments came in response to questions from a number of Conservative MPs, including CFI Vice-Chairman John Howell OBE MP, and a question from LFI Chairman Rt. Hon. Joan Ryan MP.
Paul Scully MP, who visited Israel with Conservative Friends of Israel in 2015, asked the Secretary of State “what plans he has to strengthen the UK’s trade relationship with Israel as a result of the decision to leave the EU”.
He underlined: “UK-Israel trade is at a record high, with strong ties in science and technology, cyber-security and medical science, but the terms are currently determined by the EU-Israel Association Agreement”.
The MP for Sutton and Cheam continued: “Does he agree that our vote to leave the EU presents a great opportunity to strengthen co-operation between our countries, and will he update the House on progress on planning and securing a new post-Brexit deal with Israel?”
CFI Vice-Chairman John Howell emphasised the importance of strengthening the UK’s relationship with Israel on cyber security, where Israel has 20% of the global market.
LFI Chair Joan Ryan highlighted a survey this year, which found that “89% of Israeli tech companies and 86% of Israeli investors are interested in business and tech cooperation with the UK”.
The full exchange can be seen here.