EU-Israel trade reaches record figures amid growing tension in the region
Monday, 18 March 2019
In the past years, Israeli export to the EU has reached a historical high of 34% and EU import to Israel is almost 40% of Israel’s total imports. The figures were released by the EU delegation in Tel Aviv at a recent seminar on doing business with the EU. The business seminar took place amid growing tension along Israel’s borders with a flareup of violence last Thursday when two rockets were fired by mistake from Gaza against Tel Aviv. The economic situation in Gaza is dire and any incident, if not contained, can easily escalate to a new round of hostilities that would not solve anything.
The seminar was aimed at Israeli importers and exporters interested in further expanding their activities to the EU, traditionally the first export market for Israeli companies. A new on-line Help Desk facilitating trade and Investment between the EU and Israel, and supported by the European Commission, was launched at the event.
“The EU is not only the world’s largest internal market, but is also the closest market to Israel,” said Emanuele Giaufret, EU Ambassador to Israel, at the seminar. “We provide one of the best business environments and with Israel’s innovative and thriving economy, this exemplifies the unique partnership that the EU and Israel has.”
The Help Desk will establish a contact point within the Israeli ministry of economy and industry.
As regards boosting trade between EU and the Palestinian territories, the delegation referred to the Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism which covers trade between EU and Southern Mediterranean countries and among themselves, including the Palestinian territories.
Asked by The Brussels Times about the impact of the labelling requirements concerning products from Israeli settlements, the delegation replied that trade between the EU and the settlements in the West Banks is very limited and that the labelling requirements had no significant impact on these trade flows.
In January, Giaufret received the “2018 Diplomat of the Year” award by the Tel Aviv-based Ambassadors’ club of Israel. A representative of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs admitted that it is not easy to represent the EU in Israel.
The coming weeks in Israel will be dominated by an infected election campaign, where the country’s future as a democracy and the revival of the peace process with the Palestinians are at stake. The incumbent Prime Minister risks being indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing after the elections that are due to take place on 9 April.