Trade soars as Israel-UK links reach new heights


Trade between the UK and Israel is at a record high, new figures have shown.

Total bilateral trade amounted to £2.4 billion from January to July - a 1.2 per cent increase on the same period last year.

There has been a 3.7 per cent increase in imports from Israel to the UK, but a 3.6 per cent drop in exports from the UK to Israel. The figures do not account for trade in services and diamonds.

Daniel Saunders, of the Israeli embassy's trade department, confirmed plans to further strengthen bilateral ties in sport, travel and retail - "three industries where the UK is a world leader", he said.

The figures were announced after an event in London on Thursday last week, which introduced Israeli technology companies to major British retail brands and manufacturers.

The event was hosted by David Roth, chief executive of The Store, part of the WPP marketing firm. He said: "Israeli companies are highly entrepreneurial; they know how to fuse technology with business requirements and they also move at a very fast pace.

"The competitive environment in the UK is becoming unbelievably fierce and retailers have to fight for their market share. They want technology that will merge the shopping experience online and in-store."

At the event, Israeli company Awear showcased a clothes-tracking device that would enable the buyer to collect "air miles for clothes".

Mr Roth said the tags would allow retailers to monitor when and where clothes were being worn. Shoppers would be rewarded with points and deals on their future purchases.

Delegates from major British retailers have travelled to Tel Aviv to meet Israeli technology companies this year. Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, Ocado and the Home Retail Group were among the firms represented.

This month, John Lewis joined Israeli company Cimagine to launch a 3D virtual showroom that enables customers to see what furniture will look like at home before they buy it.

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