Britain launches free trade talks with Israel

FILE PHOTO: Weekly cabinet meeting in Downing Street
·1 min read

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Wednesday launched free trade talks with Israel, aimed at boosting service and tech sector ties as it seeks new trade deals after leaving the European Union.

The current trade deal between the two countries is based on an old EU deal that has no specific provisions on services, Britain said, adding that the trading relationship is currently worth 5 billion pounds ($6 billion) a year.

"The UK and Israel are both modern, hi-tech services superpowers, but our current trading relationship is based on an agreement from 1995, before smartphones, the internet, and digitally delivered services transformed the global economy," trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

"Combining the power of our economies in a revamped trade deal will boost trade, support jobs and help take our economic relationship to the next level."

Britain said a deal could boost UK service exports by up to 78 million pounds and benefit over 6,000 businesses.

($1 = 0.8317 pounds)

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by William James)