A 75 per cent surge in British exports to Israel was partly fuelled by the prospect of Brexit, the UK’s ambassador in Tel Aviv has said.
Exports totalled $3.45 billion (£2.62 billion) between January and June 2018, up from $1.97 billion in the first half of 2017, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday.
Popular exports included mineral products, machinery and electrical equipment, and chemicals. The figures exclude diamonds.
In a statement highlighting the figures, the British Embassy in Israel pointed to the context of Brexit.
“Since Britain voted in June 2016 to leave the EU, there are signs of increased Israeli business interest in the UK,” the embassy said, adding that more Israeli companies were setting up in the UK or expanding their business there.
Speaking to the JC, Britain’s ambassador to Israel David Quarrey, added: “I’m sure Brexit is part of it but I don’t think it’s all of it.”
He said it is “quite hard to disentangle all the different factors impacting British exporters”, but that the latest figures “sit on top of two years of record figures.
“What we’re seeing from both sides is more interest in doing more together,” he said.
British exports to Israel have increased steadily in the past few years, while Israeli investment in the UK has increased by 33 per cent since the Brexit referendum.
Barry Grossman, director of International Trade at the British Embassy in Israel, said: “The new figures reflect what we see on the ground: more British companies are interested in the Israeli market, and many Israeli companies realise 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.”
Total bilateral trade between the UK and Israel has grown in the first half of this year to $4.33 billion [£3.29 billion], an increase of eight per cent on the same period last year.