The report into “Britain-Israel trade after Brexit” by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) outlines the “exceptional potential for growth in bilateral trade and investment” between the two countries, including “UK exports to the expanding Israeli market”.
In the year following the EU referendum in 2016, the number of Israeli companies set up in the UK had “increased by 28 percent”, with a “33.5 percent increase in the level of investment and a 12.8 percent increase in jobs created in the UK”.
These figures, the report suggests, “indicate that Israeli businesses see a moment of opportunity, and reflecting the underlying attractiveness of the UK for Israelis, based on language, culture and access to financing”.
The BICOM report urges the UK to promptly prepare “new bilateral agreements or transitional arrangements” in order to realise the opportunity Brexit brings for increased UK-Israel trade, warning that cooperation “will be harmed” unless a new trade deal ensures “the continuation of trade terms currently covered by the EU-Israel Association Agreement”.
Since 2000, the EU-Israel Association Agreement has constituted the framework for cooperation between the EU and Israel, including provisions on free trade and the strengthening of economic cooperation. Other agreements between Israel and the EU secure cooperation in scientific, technical and agricultural sectors.
The report highlights opportunities in the agricultural sector, where “there is an opportunity to go beyond current Israel-EU terms by establishing different quotas which could allow Israeli fruit and vegetables to access a larger share of the UK market”, as well as “lower prices for UK consumers by increasing competition with southern Europe”.
In areas such as foreign policy and defence, the UK and Israel “will continue to share a broad strategic foreign policy and defence outlook”, and will have “even more in common post-Brexit, as two important powers on the periphery of the EU and highly integrated with it, but with no aspiration to membership”.
Read the full report here.