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Israel UK

The next year presents a huge opportunity to create new business contacts in the world’s fifth largest economy,” a UK official said, referring to Israel.

By: Mara Vigevani/TPS

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, its exports to Israel for the first half of 2018 were up 75 percent, according to a statement by the British Embassy in Israel last week, based on numbers published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

UK exports to Israel totaled at $3.45 billion between January and June 2018, up from $1.97 billion in the first half of 2017.

The figure makes the UK Israel’s largest trade partner in Europe, and second in the world after the US.

In June alone, UK exports to Israel grew from $335.7 million in 2017 to $606.2 million this year.

Leading export sectors from the UK to Israel were mineral products up by three times to $428.3 million and machinery and electrical equipment up 75 percent to $62.4 Million in the period from January to June.

According to the data of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, total UK-Israel trade grew by 17 percent, on top of record levels in 2016 and 2017 from $3.66 billion in 2016 to $4.30 billion in 2017.

Bilateral trade between the UK and Israel has grown by 8 percent in the first half of 2018 – from $4 billion in 2017 to $4.33 billion in 2018.

Commenting on the figures, Barry Grossman, Director of International Trade at the British Embassy in Israel, said that “the new figures reflect what we see on the ground: more British companies are interested in the Israeli market, and many Israeli companies realize that the next year presents a huge opportunity to create new business contacts in the world’s fifth largest economy and its biggest financial hub.”

‘Ambitious Free Trade Deal’

British Prime Minister Theresa May, in a speech in London during September, underlined the importance of economic relations with Israel

“As the United Kingdom forges a bold new future outside the European Union, we will be seeking free trade deals with our partners around the world. And as a great start-up nation, an engine of enterprise, a world leader in technology, and a great friend of Britain, I want to see an ambitious free trade deal between our countries,” she said.

Since Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the EU, scheduled for March 29, 2019, Israeli investment in Great Britain has boomed despite overall fears about the impact that London’s coming exit from the EU will have on the country’s economy. Israeli investment in the UK increased by 33 percent since the vote.

“But Israelis do particularly well when there are unknown factors,” Hugo Bieber, chief executive of UK Israel Business, a bilateral chamber of commerce, told TPS.

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