Record surge in Israel-UK trade

 Sir Mervyn King, the retiring Bank of England Governor, praised Israel’s economic performance

Sir Mervyn King, the retiring Bank of England Governor, praised Israel’s economic performance

Trade between Britain and Israel rose by 21.9 per cent year-on-year between the first quarter of 2012 and 2013.

And despite the vociferous boycott campaign, imports from Israel rose by 55.6 per cent in the same period.

The figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel show a £170 million overall increase in bilateral trade.

Most of the British imports come from Israel’s renowned high-tech sector. But food produce is also a key contributor to the buoyant trade figures, despite being one of the boycott campaign’s main areas of attack.

Expect to see trade between the UK and Israel continue to increase

The UK is Israel’s second largest export market. The US is the largest.

Noah Shani, minister for Trade and Economic Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in London, said: “Business between Israel and the UK is booming and the latest bilateral trade figures are once again testament to the strength and vibrancy of this trade relationship.”

Hugo Bieber, chief executive of UK Israel Business, a leading organisation promoting trade relations between the two countries, added: “We have seen significant interest from Israeli firms exporting to the UK and also from UK firms looking to purchase best-in-class products and services from Israel.

“Given Israel’s status as the ‘start-up nation’, consistently developing new technologies across sectors, we expect to see trade between the UK and Israel continue to increase.

“When business is put ahead of politics, significant economic benefits can be seen for both the UK and Israel.”

Since the beginning of the year, the UK Israel Tech Hub at the British embassy has helped organise five tech-related business delegations between the two nations.

This week, Middle East Minister Alistair Burt joined a delegation of 20 British pharmaceutical and biomedical companies to Tel Aviv — including NHS representatives .

The two-day trip is part of a number of government-backed delegations promoting co-operative economic relations between the two counties.

Rohan Silva, a senior policy adviser to David Cameron, led a delegation of British supermarket chains and luxury brands to Israel last month.

Meanwhile, at the UK Israel Business Awards on Wednesday, Sir Mervyn King, the retiring Bank of England Governor, praised Israel’s economic performance. “It is one of the very few advanced economies whose output grew every year throughout the economic crisis”, he said. He also revealed that he had advised Israel’s central bank on a new law regulating the functions of the Bank of Israel.

Last updated: 4:35pm, June 13 2013