In International Trade Questions today, Secretary of State Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP hailed the “strong and important trading relationship” between the UK and Israel, with trade levels at a record £5 billion in 2016, underlining that the two countries will “continue to liaise closely on strengthening our trading links”.
The International Trade Secretary’s comments came in response to an oral question from CFI Officer Bob Blackman, who asked “what steps he is taking to strengthen the trade relationship in medical research and development with Israel”.
Dr Fox explained that “the Life Sciences Organisation within the Department for International Trade currently supports companies wishing to export to Israel from the earliest stages of research and development through to manufactured medicines and medical devices”.
The MP for Harrow East said that Israeli companies are responsible for “more than 100 million prescription drugs consumed in this country every year”, and asked Dr Fox how he plans to further “ensure that we benefit from Israel’s pharmaceutical industry”.
Mr Blackman referred to the Israeli-invented ReWalk device, a bionic walking assistance system which has been used by paralyzed Britons, enabling them to walk.
Dr Fox said that the “Department for International Trade supports and will continue to support life science companies from Israel that invest in the UK, and those seeking to export from the UK. The companies range from large multinationals to small and medium-sized companies such as the one my hon. Friend mentioned”.
He confirmed that his department supports “all stages, whether that is by facilitating investment in research and development or setting up commercial operations, such as manufacturing, to export from the UK”.
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP asked Dr Fox if “in his discussions with the Israeli Government on trade”, he would “convey to them the sympathy and solidarity of this House with Israel because they have so often suffered the same kind of terrorist attack as we did in this House yesterday”.
The Secretary of State for International Trade said that “what we have in common with all terrorist attacks is that such acts of savagery against the innocent can never be justified or excused by creed or by politics”.