Boris congratulates new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid as new trade deal negotiations get underway

Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and congratulated him on his recent appointment.

Prime Minister Lapid thanked the Prime Minister for his ongoing efforts to support the UK-Israel relationship, an international partnership that he said had made enormous progress during the Prime Minister’s tenure.

The leaders agreed that ongoing work, including the recent announcement that the UK and Israel have begun negotiations on a new Free Trade Agreement, will take the cooperation between our countries to new heights. The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the UK-Israel relationship will continue to be of huge importance to his successor.

UK tech firms and services companies would benefit greatly from the future UK-Israel trade deal, that will seek to establish a modern, revamped trading relationship between two of the world’s services superpowers.

Israel has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and their demand for digital products and services is expected to grow rapidly. The UK’s existing bilateral FTA with Israel contains no specific provisions on services, creating a huge opportunity to enhance the agreement.

This includes boosting UK services exports to Israel by up to £78 million, from insurance to computer and technology services, supporting jobs and growing high-tech industries by reducing barriers to trade.

A new upgraded deal would expand a trading relationship already worth £5 billion a year. It could benefit 6,600 UK businesses, including 5,600 small and medium-sized enterprises, employing over 1.7 million people in 2020, who are exporting their goods to Israel by reducing trade barriers.

A bold new modernised deal could also provide greater economic opportunities for exporters across the UK regions and nations, including LEVC’s iconic electric black cabs in Coventry, Tomatin Distillery in Scotland, and Concrete Canvas in Wales.

On the brutality in Ukraine, the leaders both underscored their support for the Ukrainian people. The Prime Minister welcomed Israel’s humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, including their provision of field hospitals. He stressed the need for all countries to continue to put pressure on Putin’s regime, including through sanctions.

The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Lapid also discussed Iran and agreed on the need to prevent Iranacquiring a nuclear weapon. The Prime Minister stressed that the UK is continuing to encourage Iran to take the deal currently on the table and come back into compliance with the JCPoA nuclear deal.

The Prime Minister concluded the call by saying he will always be a big friend and supporter of both Israel and Prime Minister Lapid.

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