Israel has asked the UK government to include the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in a free trade agreement being discussed between the two nations, according to a report.
The Israel Hayom newspaper said Thursday that Economy Minister Eli Cohen had written to Conor Burns, British Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, telling him “Most of Israel’s free trade agreements, including its deal with the US, apply to ‘the State of Israel,’ meaning anywhere Israeli law applies.”
Israel’s trade agreement with the European Union does not include the contested regions, but Jerusalem is hoping for a new attitude in London following its exit from the EU late last month.
The paper reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also raised the issue with counterpart Boris Johnson.
Earlier this month Netanyahu and Johnson agreed to begin talks on establishing a post-Brexit free trade zone between Israel and the UK, Netanyahu said.
Britain and the EU have given themselves an 11-month “transition period” — in which the UK will continue to follow the bloc’s rules — to strike new agreements on trade, security and a host of other areas.
Johnson made the country’s economic independence a central plank of his Brexit pitch.
He said that a post-Brexit Britain would be “simultaneously a great European power and truly global in our range and ambitions.”
In November 2018, British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox visited Israel to meet with Netanyahu and promote post-Brexit trade between the two countries.
Netanyahu said at the time: “Britain is in fact our largest trade partner in Europe — one of our most important trading partners in the world — and we value the friendship.”
Israel is an import market for British cars, mineral products, machinery, chemical industry products and electrical equipment, the British embassy said.