Dr Fox said: “Britain’s relationship with Israel is stronger than it has ever been with record levels of bilateral cooperation in trade and investment between our two nations. Today’s agreement will further help ensure UK and Israeli businesses, exporters and consumers have the certainty they need to continue trading freely and in confidence as the UK prepares to leave the EU”.
He added: “We look forward to further strengthening an ambitious trade and investment relationship with Israel as we work closer together in the future”.
On Twitter, the International Trade Secretary said: “Important step forward for the British & Israeli trading relationship. We have just signed the trade continuity agreement rolling over the EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement. A special thanks to my Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen for his hard work in advancing the UK-Israeli trading partnership”.
Welcoming the news, British Ambassador to Israel H.E. David Quarrey said: “Ministers Liam Fox and Eli Cohen sign the new UK/Israel trade & partnership agreement. Key step in ensuring continuity for thriving trade and investment relationship. After another record year in 2018, even more ambitious for 2019″.
Ambassador of Israel H.E. Mark Regev said: “I join my opposite number Ambassador @DavidQuarrey in celebrating our new agreement, ensuring the momentum behind Israel-UK trade continues in the years ahead”.
Anita Leviant, President of the Israel Britain Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) said: “The IBCC community, both in Israel and in the UK is very pleased and encouraged by the signing of the continuity trade agreement between both countries. Bilateral Trade between the UK and Israel has been booming during the last several years and the UK is Israel’s second largest trade partner, with over 300 Israeli companies choosing to set up their businesses in the UK”.
The news has been welcomed by business groups including the Israel Britain Chamber of Commerce, who say it will help to support jobs and ensure continuity for both British consumers and businesses who will be able to continue trading without disruption.
The agreement simplifies trade and allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs.
Trading on these preferential terms rather than on World Trade Organisation terms will deliver significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs, and help to further strengthen the trading relationship between the UK and Israel.
The agreement also protects existing preferential market access for important products. Consumers in the UK will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Israel, such as pharmaceutical products, with Israeli companies acting as major suppliers to the NHS. The deal will ensure crucial protection for intellectual property rights and maintain high trading standards across industry.
There were 6,700 British businesses exporting goods Israel in 2017, with 3,300 British businesses importing goods from Israel in 2017. Between 2007 and 2017, total UK exports to Israel grew by 36% and total UK imports from Israel grew by 23%.
In January, International Trade Secretary Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP and Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen announced at the World Economic Forum at Davos that the UK and Israel had agreed a free trade deal “in principle”.