British and Israeli ministers have announced that they have agreed a post-Brexit trade agreement in principle.
International Development Secretary Liam Fox, a key cabinet supporter of Brexit, made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon alongside Israel’s Minister of the Economy Eli Cohen.
The news was welcomed by diplomats including Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, who tweeted that it was “more excellent news for the rapidly growing UK-Israel partnership,” after more than £7 billion in bilateral trade was recorded in 2018.
Fox and Cohen made the announcement of a trade deal agreed “in principle” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“I’m delighted that as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, and to ensure continuity for our businesses in both directions, we’ve reached agreement in principle today with our colleagues in Israel,” said Fox, who is an arch Brexiteer.
“Israel has been one of the most cooperative and productive partners in this relationship, where our trade is already strong and set to go further,” he said, adding that it was a “precursor to an even more ambitious agreement in the future”.
More excellent news for the rapidly growing Israel-UK partnership, last year alone worth £7bn in trade. https://t.co/hMNS0qLCSc
— Mark Regev (@MarkRegev) January 23, 2019
Cohen said he felt the in-principle agreement would “accelerate, increase and strengthen our economic relationship,” with a UK-Israel trade and investment conference scheduled for London in the coming months.
Shortly after taking over at the Department for International Trade in 2016, Fox set up the UK-Israel Trade Working Group “designed to identify and remove barriers to trade between our two countries”.
BREAKING News from @Davos: ???????? and ???????? have agreed in principle a UK-Israel agreement. Here is the video of Eli Cohen (Israel’s Minister of the Economy) and I making the announcement at @wef. @netanyahu #FreeTradeIsGREAT #FreeTrade #WEF2019 #wef #wef19 pic.twitter.com/odbZtWr4Uo
— Dr Liam Fox MP (@LiamFox) January 23, 2019
Senior Vice President of the Board of Deputies Sheila Gewolb said: “We welcome this commitment to ensuring that trade between Israel and the UK runs smoothly after Brexit and the aspiration of the two governments for an even more ambitious agreement in future.
“We are pleased that Ministers have heeded the community’s call, as laid out in the joint Board-JLC pamphlet Brexit and the Jewish community pamphlet, to build on the increasing level of trade between the two countries. We have since followed up to make the case to the UK and Israeli governments at the highest level.”