Black cabs, whiskey and lucrative contracts for Tel Aviv’s Metro are all on the table, as Britain and Israel enter talks for a post-Brexit trade deal to the tune of £78m per year.
Negotiations have been held between International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and the Israeli envoy, Tzipi Hotovely, today. Trevelyan is looking to expand current arrangements for post-Brexit trade to include services exports, building on the current £5bn trade between the UK and often-named ‘Start-Up Nation’.
Most trade between Britain and Israel focuses on goods, with services just accounting for a third. But a new upgraded deal could benefit 6,600 UK firms, including 5,600 SMEs, employing over 1.7 million people in 2020.
In a bid to capitalise on Tel Aviv’s booming services industry, which has grown by 50 per cent in the last decade, and high-tech sector, which has produced global giants like Waze and eToro, Britain is set to commit £78m a year to the agreement.
Among initiatives in the agreement are LEVC’s iconic electric black cabs in Coventry, Tomatin Distillery in Scotland, and Concrete Canvas in Wales.
Other lucrative opportunities are procurement contracts worth £34bn for the Tel Aviv Metro, and expanding an Innovation Healthtech Gateway partnership between Leeds and Israel.
Trevelyan said: “The UK and Israel are both modern, hi-tech services superpowers, but our current trading relationship is based on an agreement from 1995, before smartphones, the internet and digitally delivered services transformed the global economy.
“We want a deal that will play to British strengths, while stimulating innovation and increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK. Combining the power of our economies in a revamped trade deal will boost trade, support jobs and help take our economic relationship to the next level.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely said: “The respective UK and Israeli economies complement each other in many fields. A modern free trade agreement will open new channels for collaboration in R&D, innovation and investment between our two countries, whilst simultaneously strengthening both economies.
“I am, therefore, very pleased that the Free Trade Agreement negotiations are being launched today, building on the strong collaboration that Israel and the UK enjoy, and I look forward to getting an FTA in place in the near future.”.