As Britain prepares to leave the EU, its exports to Israel for the first half of 2018 were up 75 percent, according to a statement by the British Embassy in Israel published Tuesday, based on Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.
UK Exports to Israel totaled $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 (though not the EU), and second in the world after the U.S.
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% to $62.4 Million in the period from January to June.
Exports of animal products and live animals, however, were down by 80 percent.
According to the data of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics total UK-Israel trade grew by 17%, 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% 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: “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”.
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% 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.