The Jewish Chronicle | 1 July 2021
UK and Israel on brink of signing trade agreement
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss met with her Israeli counterpart on Wednesday ahead of an expected advanced free trade agreement being signed by Britain and the Jewish state.
Ms Truss travelled on the UK’s Royal Navy Yacht to Haifa port as part of a promotional event for British companies operating in Israel or aspiring to enter the Israeli market.
The visit had been planned to take place early last year but was postponed by the pandemic and elections in Israel.
During her first ever visit to the Jewish state, Ms Truss and Israel’s Minister of Economy, Orna Barbivai, discussed deepening trade ties in industries including tech and data, and building on the nations’ £5 billion trade relationship.
The pair also spoke about issues relating to the implementation of a trade agreement between the two nations that entered into force in January this year and examined options to upgrade the agreement and economic relations.
Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, also joined the meeting.
Ms Truss said: “It was fantastic to meet the Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivay. As two democratic free trading nations, both with thriving technology industries, I’m looking forward to deepening the historic ties between the UK and Israel.
“Together we will work to remove barriers to trade between our countries and work towards an advanced Free Trade Agreement that supports jobs and drives growth.”
Ms Barbivay said: "I was honoured to meet the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Ms. Elizabeth Truss. I had the opportunity to know an impressive woman, who is in charge of implementing the Johnson administration’s economic trade policy and who strives to lead Britain to an independent economic path following the Brexit.
“Secretary Truss holds a positive approach towards Israel and considers it as a global innovation centre. In addition, Secretary Truss fully understands the importance of economic and trade relations between the two countries.
“There is willingness to upgrade the trade agreement, and we will promote it for the benefit of the business sector, the industry, and the consumers in Israel and Great Britain.”