Jewish News | 22 April 2022
UK and Israel to begin ‘formal negotiations’ later this year over trade agreement
By Lee Harpin
The UK’s government is set to begin “formal negotiations” with Israel later this year over an “ambitious” free trade agreement between the two countries.
Trade minister Rani Jayawardena told MPs he was “thrilled” by the “exciting new provisions in digital, data, technology, services and innovation” outlined in the deal.
The announcement, in the Commons on Thursday, followed last year’s confirmation that the UK and Israel had signed a trade and partnership agreement.
The minister confirmed: “We have completed our consultation and are analysing the responses now, with a view to launching formal negotiations, along with others, later this year.”
Conservative MP Robert Largan asked the minister to “go further” with the services party of the deal, which he said “make up around 70% of both the UK and Israel’s economies.”
Jaywardena said it was correct to point out that our two economies have strong service sectors “but our current deal predominantly caters for trade in goods. ”
He added:”That is why we intend to negotiate a more ambitious, comprehensive and innovation-friendly trade deal, which will open up opportunities for British businesses in areas such as tech, data and digital.
“My hon. Friend will be aware that next month we are hosting the first ever joint innovation and investment summit between our two countries.
“That will be a key moment as we deepen our relationship, creating opportunities to increase trade and investment between our nations, create new jobs and boost wages.”