13 Feb 2018
UK Israel Business Brexit

YNet: The Israelis benefiting from Brexit

The Israelis benefiting from Brexit

The UK and the EU are in the midst of robust negotiations on numerous issues, that will not only affect Europe but many other countries, Israel Included. Barry Grossman, the British embassy’s Director of International Trade, explains in a special column for Ynet why Israel and Israelis are benefiting or about to benefit from Britain’s exit from the EU.

So many things have been said about Brexit since the British public decided in a 2016 referendum to leave the world’s biggest trading block. But will this unprecedented move be good for the Israelis? The short answer is ‘yes’.

Israel and Israelis can reap huge benefits from Brexit. Here are a few groups of Israelis which are already gaining from Brexit, or are expected to do so. It is important to remember that aside from the opportunities, the Brexit process also bears a number of unknown factors.

The Israeli economy

Perhaps the biggest news for Israel is a new Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Israel, which is already being negotiated between the two governments.

Currently, trade between the UK and Israel is governed by an Association Agreement between the EU and Israel. Once the UK leaves the EU, in March 2019, that will no longer be the case, and the two countries will be free to determine the best deal for themselves.

Since the Brexit referendum, the British government has declared that Israel is one of its priority markets. The UK is already Israel’s second largest trading partner in the world, and annual trade between the two countries is worth well over $7 billion.

Britain is keen to keep this growth in trade, so since March 2017 the two countries are negotiating a new Free Trade Agreement. Such an Agreement will open up the UK market to more Israeli exports, in both goods and services, and make a huge contribution to Israel’s economy; and it will also bring about an increase in the interest of UK companies in the Israeli market and give the Israeli consumer a wider range of product choice. All good things.

The shoppers

The UK has been for some time one of the most popular holiday destinations for Israelis, certainly for its tourist attractions but especially for shopping. Now, with Sterling’s rate of exchange giving 15% more for the Shekel (compered to pre-referendum exchange rates), the UK has become a shoppers’ paradise. From fashion to electronics, the goods at London’s Oxford Street are now more affordable for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis visiting annually.

In fact, the number of weekly flights between the two countries is on the increase, making Britain even more accessible. A few weeks ago, the UK and Israel signed a new aviation agreement, ensuring the frequent air services between them will continue after Brexit.

And let’s not forget online shopping, which has already seen British retailers Next and Asos become the darlings of Israeli online shoppers. Both platforms are on an upward growth trend and the products they sell are more affordable to Israelis because of the change in shekel-pound exchange rates.

Read more here: https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5102325,00.html