The UK is Israel's largest export destination in Europe and the third largest in the world, as detailed by the Israel Export Institute. With exports leaning heavily on mechanical equipment, plastics and organic chemicals, the future for cooperation between these nations is promising.
British and Israeli Trade
Britain is also one of the leading countries Israel imports goods from. Pharmaceutical products, vehicles and mechanical equipment are among some of the most traded sectors. Despite global events of the past few years, Israel's imports from Britain have remained at a consistent level, providing a steady stream of revenue for both countries.
Extensive tourism ties are also shared between them. Every year, over 260,000 visitors travel from Israel to the UK, each spending an average of just under £1000 per visit. This number is increasing after a huge spike in 2017 that has not abated. Just under 235,000 visitors travel in the other direction, going from Britain to Israel for tourism each year. Yet there are many other industries ripe for them to exploit.
Could Israel Benefit From iGaming?
The first major area where the Israeli economy could benefit is the gambling sector. An immediate barrier to this is the traditionally restrictive view of gambling in Israel itself. The only form of gambling allowed in Israel is the state lottery and state-organised sports betting.
However, similar restrictions were often cited for the banning of online sports betting and gaming in many American states. Areas such as Arkansas and Louisiana are two in the last year alone to make a change. For US states, it is a gold rush after having realised how lucrative this industry can be. To put it in context, the gross gambling yield for Great Britain is around 5.89 billion, down from a high of 14 billion in previous years.
There are ways this could be capitalised on without infringing the laws within Israel itself. Firstly, the state could allow access to handpicked best slot sites in the UK. Most major sites providing this service also have sports betting and casino, which would provide a wide variety of options to consumers. Provisions are also made to protect gamblers, with help, advice, and deposit limits in place, which could ease some worries.
As they all operate affiliate schemes, it would be no different for these companies to sign private, similar agreements with governments. Another way would be to export Israel’s booming technology industry to provide services to facilitate the growth in iGaming. This has already happened with Israeli companies like Playtika creating and offering software to the industry.
Growing the Aviation Industry
Another sector in which the two companies could benefit from mutual ventures is the aviation industry. Geographically, Israel is perfectly situated as a gateway from Europe to the Middle East and the rest of the world. While other countries nearby, such as Turkey, have positioned themselves as key transport hubs, Israel still has inroads to make. Particularly when it comes to safety.
The UK is already a hub for aviation, with both manufacturers and the infrastructure for handling large amounts of traffic. According to the Israel Export Institute, both countries suffer from lengthy and burdensome import procedures. Delays and the high cost of transportation are other issues. Mutual agreements to improve these, along with a designated aviation hub to position Israel as a cargo site, could give them both lower-cost access to the rest of the world.
Finally, one mutually beneficial industry for both countries would be the renewable energy sector. The world is in an energy crisis, prices have risen more than most. The demand for the products involved is inevitably going to increase. Large companies such as Samsung have pledged to make a switch to fully renewable energy solutions in their manufacturing. Targets have also increased in the EU and UK to make switches to green energy, as high as 32% by 2030.
The UK already has several businesses that provide this equipment, but possibly not enough to reach this quota. In addition, any industry will want to benefit from export, not just keep producing goods for its domestic market. This is an area where Israel could step in, as it already has the manufacturing industry in place. Its background in technology could also provide solutions and applications.
However, all these changes would be easier to implement with a solid trade agreement in place. Apart from the aforementioned issues, one other problem facing import and export is stringent legislation and checks on imported goods from both countries. If this could be relaxed between both countries, it could help facilitate trade.
This article was written in cooperation with TMM